2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - Indiana St at Penn State
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Sept. 3 at Penn State 41 … Indiana State 7
CFN Analysis: Uh oh. Penn State had no problems whatsoever with Indiana State, and Silas Redd came up with a terrific game running the ball with 104 yards and two scores on 12 carries, but the pass protection was mediocre. With Alabama coming into town next week, even though the Tide defensive front isn't big on pressuring the quarterback, the Nittany Lions have to come up with a few ideas to keep the quarterbacks from getting popped. Matt McGloin completed 6-of-8 passes for 77 yards, while Robert Bolden completed 6-of-12 throws for 37 yards; neither showed anything to make the quarterback situation any more solid. McGloin was the better of the two, but it's one thing to shine against ISU and it's another to do much against Alabama.
(AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Chaz Powell set the tone by returning the game's opening kickoff 95 yards for a score and Silas Redd led an overwhelming Penn State ground game with two rushing touchdowns in a 41-7 win Saturday over Indiana State.
Joe Paterno coached from the press box more than three weeks after suffering shoulder and pelvis injuries from an accidental collision in practice, though the Nittany Lions didn't miss a beat against the Sycamores -- an FCS team.
Redd ran for 94 of his 104 yards by the second quarter, including a 4-yard score for a 28-0 lead. Rob Bolden started at quarterback, splitting time with Matt McGloin.
Indiana State managed 170 yards of total offense and got pushed around by a Penn State team anxious to rebound from last year's 7-6 campaign.
Michael Zordich displayed the Nittany Lions' early physical superiority on back-to-back plays in the first quarter, throwing a devastating block up the middle to spring Redd loose for the tailback's first score, from 9 yards.
On the ensuing kickoff, Zordich leveled Sycamore return man Leonard Riston near the sideline for a violent end to a 21-yard return.
Paterno, who made "toughness" the keyword for preseason camp, surely relished what he witnessed from the press box. He had pronounced himself "50-50" this week to coach from the sideline.
The Nittany Lions got a nice warmup for next week's considerably tougher game -- a visit from No. 2 Alabama.
Both Bolden and McGloin got equal shots in what may well have been an extended audition for the starting gig against the Crimson Tide. Bolden, who started his second straight season-opener, finished 6 of 12 for 37 yards. He could have thrown for more had a couple of nice throws downfield not bounced off the hands of receivers Derek Moye and Justin Brown, respectively.
McGloin was 6 of 8 for 77 yards, with the offense looking crisper at times under his watch, especially in the 14-point second quarter.
Indiana State quarterback Ronnie Fouch, a Washington transfer, spent much of the afternoon on the run. Sacked on his first play by Gerald Hodges and intercepted on his second series by Drew Astorino, Fouch finished 11 of 23 passing for 102 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown.
On a warm, muggy day with temperatures in the low 80s, the Happy Valley party got started 13 seconds in after Powell sidestepped his way around defenders before sprinting down the field for his 95-yard return on the opening kickoff.
After a three-and-out for Indiana State, Redd capped up the next drive with his 9-yard score, aided by Zordich's big block. Redd finished with 12 carries, spending much of the second half on the sideline with the game well in hand.
Penn State ran for 245 yards on the afternoon.
It wasn't the kind of start Indiana State coach Trent Miles was looking for, though it was hardly unexpected against the more talented Nittany Lions. The Sycamores are coming off a 6-5 season in 2010, which ended a staggering streak of 60 losses in 62 games.
No David and Goliath-type upset on Saturday.
At least Indiana State does get to return home with an estimated $450,000-$475,000, according to Miles, which will help pay bills for the entire athletic department.
It wasn't entirely all smiles for Penn State. The offensive line struggled in pass protection, with Bolden and McGloin taking more hits than expected against a defense from a lower-division school.
That doesn't bode well next week when the speedy Crimson Tide roll into town.
The kicking game will need work, too. Evan Lewis, missed field goals from 38 and 47, along with an extra-point attempt in the third quarter. The presumed starting kicker, Anthony Fera, is on the bench because of off-field issues.
Indiana State (0-0) at Penn State (0-0)
Sept. 3, 12:00, BTN
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Here's The Deal …
Before taking the field in its much anticipated rematch with Alabama, Penn State gets to tune up and prepare against the Sycamores, who overcame years of misery to shock with a 6-5 season.
But this is all about Penn State and how it progresses.
Last year's quarterback controversy has become this year's quarterback controversy for the Nittany Lions, with Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin once again battling it out for the starting job and this game likely to determine whose job it is going forward for the game that everyone wants to talk about – everyone but Joe Paterno. For a program built on stability, the only thing that should come out of this is who that starter will be, and while beating up on Indiana State might not be the be-all-end-all test, it'll mater. ISU isn't as miserable as it's been in the past, and likely won't finish in the Missouri Valley basement, and it has a chance to be a bit of a surprise with 19 starters returning ISU returns 19 starters back. If everything, and it'll take a ton of breaks, there's a chance to compete for a MVC title, but this week it'll have to enjoy the payday.
Why Indiana State Might Win: The Sycamores return almost their entire team from a season ago, including star quarterback Ronnie Fouch. The former promising prospect at the University of Washington has FBS talent and a little bit of experience, and he isn't going to be fazed by playing in front of 100,000 people. More than anything else, though, ISU has to hope Penn State's head is already focused on the Crimson Tide. The Nittany Lions aren't going to empty the playbook, and expect them to employ a simple game plan on both sides of the ball to show as little as possible to the Alabama scouts. Both Bolden and McGloin were prone to making mistakes at times last season, and if their poor play continues and if either one is looking over his shoulder, US might be able to stick around for a while.
Why Penn State Might Win: Regardless of who's under center for Penn State, the offense should be able to move the ball without much of a problem against a mediocre – to put kindly – ISU defensive front. All the key Nittany Lion receivers are back, and there's more than enough talent at running back to offset the loss of Evan Royster, the program's all time leading rusher.
On the other side of the ball, Penn State has the potential to crank out the best D in the Big Ten and it could be among the best in the country if everything breaks right – ISU doesn't have the horses to make much of a decent in the defensive front seven. Linebacker Michael Mauti and Cornerback D'Anton Lynn have All-Big Ten potential and they should suffocate the Sycamore running game.
What To Watch Out For: Indiana State is going to pass the football; partly because that's its strength, and partly because it'll have to. The focus will be on Fouch, who threw for 2,500 yards last season and will be turned loose to see what he can do against a strong Penn State secondary, which returns all four starters from a season ago. The success might not be there, but he'll keep pushing the ball down the field. Penn State will be leaning on the run, featuring a number of runners with Silas Redd and Stephon Greene taking the pressure off the passing game. Even though the backs might control the game, all anyone will talk about is the quarterback situation.
What Will Happen: Fouch might be able to move the ball and score a few points but his offense will find the sledding extremely tough with the Nittany Lion defense standing in the way. Penn State's weakness is up front on the O line, but Indiana State won't have the ability to exploit it. Redd and Greene will each crank out over 100 yards rushing on the way to a layup of a win.
CFN Prediction: Penn State 40 ... Indiana State 0
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