Penn State Preview

Penn State features the #3 rushing offense in the Big Ten and #20 nationally with standout running back Tony Hunt. They are netting 191.3 yards per game so part of their game plan is to control the football, and keep a time of possession advantage. Hunt is averaging over 114 yards per game, ranking him #3 in the Big Ten and #11 in the nation; he averages 126 yards per game in all-purpose yards and has been in the end zone 8 times which ranks him #6 in scoring. Their quarterback, Tony Morelli, is ranked #5 in the Big Ten in passing; he has thrown for nearly 206 yards per game. He is well protected as his line has only allowed 6 sacks in 6 games. His favorite target is Deon Butler who averages over 4 receptions per game and nearly 16 yards per reception. Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams are his two other main receivers. They are averaging nearly 407 yards of total offense per game. The game plan is obvious on our side: stop their run and stop Tony Hunt while blitzing and hurrying Morelli into mistakes. We must also take advantage of their poor execution in the red zone ranked #11 in the Big Ten.

On defense, the Nittany Lions boast another stellar, stingy defense led by Butkus Award winning linebacker Paul Poluszny; he and fellow linebacker, Dan Conner, average 8 tackles per game each. Sophomore Inside Linebacker, Sean Lee, averages over 6 tackles per game and Livonia's Defensive End Tim Shaw is another stellar defensive performer. Their line is solid with Detroiter Ed Johnson and All-Big Ten performer, Jay Alford; they have 7 sacks between them. Our offensive tackles and guards will have to play their best game to block these two for our rushing attack to go and to prevent sacks. They are ranked #14 nationally in net rushing allowing less than 80 yards per game. They'll be geared up to hold Hart and our rushing offense below 100 yards; they know this is the key to winning this game. We'll be faced with trying to exploit their pass defense without our best receiver, Mario Manningham; someone must "step up." Adrian Arrington, Steve Breaston, Greg Mathews and Carl Tabb are the top candidates. Our red zone offense must execute when we have our chances; their red zone defense is ranked #10 in the Big Ten.

On special teams, punter Jeremy Kapinos is ranked 29th nationally with a 42.24 average and Kevin Kelly is ranked #2 nationally in field goals (12 of 17) and #17 in scoring averaging 2 field goals per game. Kelly is perfect on PATs. Derrick Williams is an explosive, speedy returner averaging 9 yards per punt return and 20 yards per kickoff return; we'll have to work hard to contain him. Their special teams are solid which one can attribute to good coaching; they are a disciplined team ranked #2 in the Big Ten in penalties. As in most big games, turnover advantage and points off turnover will be a huge key!

This one will be a struggle, but we'll come out with a win! 24-14