Head coach Bill O’Brien and the Penn State Nittany Lions will look to get their first win of the 2012 season this weekend when Navy comes to Happy Valley. Is the third time the charm? Here’s what the VBR staff thinks!
Matt de Bear:
It all comes together for Penn State this weekend. The offense finds its footing both on the ground and through the air, the defense settles in against the run heavy triple option, and even Sam Ficken has a great day knocking through a couple of field goals, leading to a comfortable first win of Bill O’Brien’s head coaching career.
The Naval Academy is not going to wow anyone with their brand of football. They are smash-mouth style of team that relies of the precision and execution of the triple option more so than the pass. In Navy’s only game thus far, they featured 9 different ball carriers who amassed only 149 yards. Because the running attack is Navy’s “bread and butter,” they usually struggle when they get behind by more than a score. Look for Penn State to break out in front early in this game and never look back. Don’t be surprised to see the Nittany Lions feature the ground game to soften up Navy’s DL and LB’s (Notre Dame gouged Navy for 293 yards on the ground). That’s when McGloin will take to the air. Look for McGloin to put up 200 yards in passing and the Nittany Lions will gain at least 100 yards on the ground. This will be the first complete game the Lions have played all season. Also, it will be the first home win for a coach other than Joe Paterno since Rip Engle defeated guess who…Navy, in 1965!
Unlike last week, I feel really good about Penn State’s chances heading into this game. You’re always going to get a fight from the service academies, but I think Penn State finally finds their footing offensively, against an under-sized Navy defense. Look for 200 yards on the ground to go with another 200 in the air. I think Penn State gets ahead and we get another look at freshman QB Steven Bench in the 4th quarter.
Dukes gets the start and breaks through with 20+ carries and 130 yards and a touchdown. McGloin throws for two touchdowns and Kyle Carter has a big day. Defense come up big, late in the 4th quarter behind Mauti. The defense won’t let themselves be blamed for another loss.
I have an interesting perspective on this game because I actually played in Navy’s triple option offense in high school. It’s very hard to defend and it forces the defense to key in on two or three players every play. However, if Penn State’s front seven plays like it did against Virginia, I think they’ll be able to contain Navy’s offense just enough to give themselves a chance to win. The secondary, which has been a problem for Penn State so far, won’t be tested very much this game against Navy’s run-heavy offense. Penn State’s offense must score touchdowns when they’re in the red zone and I think they will. Hopefully when this one is over, Bill O’Brien will have his first win as Penn State’s head coach.
There you have it, a clean sweep! Just like in week one…
Topics: Football, Navy Midshipmen, Penn State Nittany Lions