2010 Capital One Bowl - Penn State vs. LSU
Penn State QB Daryll Clark & LSU S Chad Jones
Penn State QB Daryll Clark & LSU S Chad Jones
Posted Dec 26, 2009

The CFN 2010 Capital One Bowl Preview - Penn State vs. LSU

2010 Capital One Bowl

Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)

Orlando, FL, Jan. 1, 1 pm, ABC

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Team Pages and 2009 Season
LSUPenn State 


- 2009 CFN Capital One Bowl Preview
- 2008 CFN Capital One Bowl Preview
- 2007 CFN Capital One Bowl Preview
National Rankings
L   P
108th Total Offense 36th
28th Total Defense 8th
74th Scoring Offense 41st
12th Scoring Defense 4th
85th Rushing Offense 38th
44th Run Defense 10th
99th Passing Offense 40th
29th Passing Defense 19th
21st Turnover Margin 46th
Position Ratings
relative to each other
L 5 highest
1 lowest
3.5 Quarterbacks 4.5
2.5 RBs 4.5
4.5 Receivers 3.5
2.5 O Line 4
4 D Line 5
4 Linebackers 5
4.5 Secondary 4
4.5 Spec Teams 1.5
4.5 Coaching 5
Capital One Bowl History
2009 Georgia 24, Michigan State 12
2008 Michigan 41, Florida 35
2007 Penn State 20, Tennessee 10
2006 Wisconsin 24, Auburn 10
2005 Iowa 30, LSU 25
2004 Georgia 34, Purdue 27 (OT)
2003 Auburn 13, Penn State 9
2002 Tennessee 45, Michigan 17
2001 Michigan 31, Auburn 28
2000 Michigan St 37, Florida 34
1999 Michigan 45, Arkansas 31
1998 Florida 21, Penn State 6
1997 Tennessee 48, Northwestern 28
1996 Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14
1995 Alabama 24, Ohio State 17
1994 Penn St 31, Tennessee 13
1993 Georgia 21, Ohio State 14
1992 California 37, Clemson 13
1991 Georgia Tech 45, Nebraska 21
1990 Illinois 31, Virginia 21
1989 Clemson 13, Oklahoma 6
1988 Clemson 35, Penn State 10
1987 Auburn 16, USC 7
1985 Ohio State 10, BYU 7
1984 Florida State 17, Georgia 17
1983 Tennessee 30, Maryland 23
1982 Auburn 33, Boston College 26
1981 Missouri 19, So Mississippi 17
1980 Florida 35, Maryland 20
1979 LSU 34, Wake Forest 10
1978 NC State 30, Pittsburgh 17
1977 Florida St 40, Texas Tech 17
1976 Oklahoma State 49, BYU 21
1975 Miami-Ohio 20, So Carolina 7
1974 Miami-Ohio 21, Georgia 10
1973 Miami-Ohio 16, Florida 7
1972 Tampa 21, Kent State 18
1971 Toledo 28, Richmond 3
1970 Toledo 40, William & Mary 12
1969 Toledo 56, Davidson 33
1968 Richmond 49, Ohio 42
1967 UT Martin 25, West Chester 8
1966 Morgan St 14, West Chester 6
1965 East Carolina 31, Maine 0
1964 East Carolina 14, Massachusetts 13
1963 Western Kentucky 27, Coast Guard 0
1962 Houston 49, Miami-Ohio 21
1961 Lamar 21, Middle Tenn. St 14
1960 Middle Tenn. St 21, Presbyterian 12
1958 (Dec.) East Texas State 26, Missouri Valley 7
1958 (Jan.) East Texas State 10, Southern Mississippi 9
1957 West Texas A&M 20, Southern Mississippi 13
1956 Juniata 6, Missouri Valley 6
1955 Nebraska-Omaha 7, Eastern Kentucky 6
1954 Arkansas State 7, East Texas State 7
1953 East Texas State 33, Tennessee Tech 0
1952 Stetson 35, Arkansas State 20
1951 Morris Harvey 35, Emory & Henry 14
1950 Saint Vincent 7, Emory & Henry 6
1949 Murray State 21, Sul Ross 21
1948 Catawba 7, Marshall 0
1947 Catawba 31, Maryville (Tenn.) 0

Everything is in place for this to be the premier non-BCS bowl.

Penn State is a BCS-caliber team, LSU would've been in the BCS if there wasn't the ridiculous rule in place that only two teams from one conference could get in, and usually, this is one of the better bowl games of the season with seven of the last ten games decided by seven points or fewer. It also helps that these two are among the best bowl teams of the last decade.

Penn State lost last year's Rose Bowl to USC (no shame there), but won five of its previous six bowls and nine of the previous 11, while LSU has been terrific winning four in a row, five of the last six (with the one loss on a miraculous last play by Iowa in the 2005 Capital One), and ten of the last 12. Always making things more interesting is the Big Ten's constant search for respect, and this game has been a big help with wins in four of the last five Capital Ones and eight of the last 11. But beyond all the numbers and all the stats, this will be a game of discovery for each program.

Penn State was supposed to be good with a veteran team returning and a schedule that went beyond favorable into the ridiculous. The non-conference schedule was embarrassing, playing Akron, Syracuse, Temple, and Eastern Illinois all at home, there was no Wisconsin on the slate, and the two decent teams on the Big Ten schedule, Ohio State and Iowa, both had to come to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions clunked in both test games, losing to the Buckeyes and the Hawkeyes by a combined score of 45 to 17, meaning the best win of the season was a 34-13 pasting of Northwestern. You're right, zzzzzzz.

LSU's claim to greatness, or to at least be considered among the very good, was not sucking against the big boys. The best win of the year was a 31-10 pasting of Auburn, and there was the controversial victory at Georgia and an overtime win over Arkansas, but mostly, the Tigers' best positive moments came in a battle at Alabama, a 24-15 loss, and by keeping a concussed Tim Tebow and Florida in check in a 13-3 loss. But, unfortunately, the defining moment was a brain-cramp, screwing up the final seconds in a loss at Ole Miss.

This was a good LSU team with a great record. The lines were nowhere near up to the normally high standards for a national title-caliber program there was little production from the passing game, less from the running attack, and the points were hard to come by. But the special teams were terrific, there weren't the mind-numbing mistakes that last year's team was all too happy to make, and the defense turned out to be better than parts. But after going 8-5 last year and now being two years removed from winning the national title, a loss to Penn State would likely mean that 2010 has to be a double-digit winning season to show that the program hasn't slipped under Les Miles' watch.

While neither team quite lived up to expectations as far as quality of play, it's a major reach to say that either underachieved. If anything, LSU outkicked its coverage a bit considering how poor the offensive line was and with the late-season injury to RB Charles Scott. But as far as bragging rights go and expectations going forward, this is an important game for each program. Penn State will be in a bit of a transitional phase next year with the loss of QB Daryll Clark and several key veterans, while this might be just the beginning for a relatively young LSU team the good recruiting classes of the last few years about to kick in.

The NFL scouts will be going over film of this game over and over again, these are two mega-power programs playing in a better matchup than three of the BCS games (take a guess as to which ones), and it's as good a non-conference game as you could come up with. It's LSU vs. Penn State. There's a reason it just sounds good.
Players to Watch
: LSU has been a factory for top-shelf, all-star defensive linemen over the last several seasons, but the best tackle in this game, and possibly the best player in the game, is senior Jared Odrick , the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year according to the coaches. An athletic space-eater inside, he's the anchor for a tremendous defensive front seven and is great at collapsing the pocket and providing pressure. The team's sack leader with six on the year and ten tackles for loss, he needs to be a regular in the backfield against a porous LSU offensive front that lets the quarterback get hit way too often.

Odrick might be the key to the Penn State defense, but linebackers Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee are the stars. Bowman was banged up for most of the season, but he regained his form late and became his old, disruptive self. The active junior roared in key late games highlighted by a 12-tackle, one sack, two tackle-for-loss, one-interception for a 73-yard touchdown effort against Indiana. Lee had a few setbacks this year after missing all of 2008 with a knee injury, but he, like Bowman, got healthy at the right time and was fantastic down the stretch coming up with 12 tackles, ten solo, in the win over Northwestern and followed it up by a 14-tackle day against Ohio State. With no LSU running game to worry about, these two will be in charge of getting into the backfield and getting to QB Jordan Jefferson , while also acting like safeties against the short-to-midrange passing game.

LSU got the season it needed out of Jefferson, and he needs to be the offense against the aggressive Penn State D. The sophomore got his feet wet late last year and turned out to be a calming influence for an offense that suffered turnover after turnover, and this year, he has been just enough of a playmaker to keep the offense moving. He's not a bomber and he's not a precision passer, but he spread out his six interceptions over the course of the season and he doesn't take too many crazy chances. Against the Nittany Lions, he'll have to use his mobility to make Lee and Bowman worry about the possibility of taking off, and then he'll have to take advantage of the one-on-one matchups against a good, but not elite secondary. It's not a stretch to say that he'll have to outplay Clark for LSU to win.

Penn State will win if ... the run defense plays like the Penn State run defense, and the LSU offensive line plays like it has all season long. The Tigers are 1-3 in games when they rush for under 100 yards, with the lone win coming against Mississippi State after rushing for 30 yards on 30 carries. The biggest problem has been sacks and tackles for loss, as the O line has had way too many problems allowing the good SEC defensive lines get into the backfield to stuff plays and drives. LSU gained133 yards against Alabama but lost 38. The ground game came up with 90 yards against Ole Miss, but netted 50. On the year, LSU has lost 375 yards, while Penn State is sixth in the nation in tackles for loss and eight in sacks. However, the Nittany Lions failed to get a sack against Ohio State (the only time all year without one) and lost to Iowa and Ohio State on the two worst games of the year for the run defense allowing 188 yards against the Hawkeyes and 245 yards to Ohio State. No one else gained more than 156. Basically, if Jordan Jefferson doesn't have a huge game, and if the Nittany Lions can win the turnover battle, they'll win.

LSU will win if ... the game comes down to Darryl Clark. The Penn State quarterback earned Offensive Player of the Year honors by some (even though Wisconsin RB John Clay was the league's best offensive player), and he has had an excellent career. But he has yet to come though in a big game, and he isn't the type of player who'll come up with a big fourth quarter to pull off a win against a nasty defense. In 2008 he got dinged up against Ohio State and then-backup Pat Devlin led the way to the key win. Against Iowa, Clark threw the bad late interception that led to the game-winning Hawkeye field goal. Against USC in the Rose Bowl, he threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns but he also threw two picks and most of his production came in the second half when the outcome had been all but decided. This year, Clark 22 touchdown passes and six interceptions in the ten wins, but against Iowa he completed 12-of-32 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown with three picks, and completed 12-of-18 passes for 125 yards and no touchdowns with an interception in the loss to Ohio State. Those were the only two games all year that he didn't connect on half his passes. However …

What will happen: The game won't come down to Clark. It's not going to be a pretty game. Both offensive lines underachieved this year and will get destroyed by the opposing defensive fronts. Penn State has more talent in the ground game, thanks to possible top 50 draft pick,
Evan Royster, but he's not going to have a lot of room to move as LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis will dare Clark to try to beat the strong Tiger corners. However, LSU's offense won't go anywhere for long stretches, either. The difference will be the field position and the special teams. Penn State has an abysmal return game, while LSU has Trindon Holliday and the nation's No. 1 ranked punt return game averaging 18.64 yards per try. LSU will get up on a big special teams play and a home run from one of its NFL receivers, Clark will try to bring the team back, and he won't be able to do it.

CFN Prediction: LSU 20 … Penn State 17 ... Line: Penn State -2.5

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Best Nittany Lion Bowl Moment: In one of the most memorable bowl games of all-time, Penn State shocked Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl to earn its second national championship in four years. With a record-breaking 70 million viewers watching, the Lions intercepted Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde five times, the last one by Pete Giftopoulos at the Penn State one-yard line to seal an unexpected and heart-stopping 14-10 win.

Best Tiger Bowl Moment: Look no further than the 2004 Sugar Bowl, a more-dominant-than-the-score-indicated 21-14 win over Oklahoma, which gave LSU a share of its first national championship in 45 years. The Tigers harassed Heisman winner Jason White from the opening drive, getting just enough of an offensive spark from freshman RB Justin Vincent to pull off the mild upset in the Superdome.

Penn State Bowl History (26-13-2)
2009 Rose USC 38, Penn State 14
2007 Alamo Penn State 24, Texas A&M 17
2007 Outback Penn State 20, Tennessee 10
2006 Orange Penn State 26, Florida State 23 (3 OT)
2002 Capital One Auburn 13, Penn State 9
1999 Alamo Penn State 24, Texas A&M 0
1998 Outback Penn State 26, Kentucky 14
1997 Citrus Florida 21, Penn State 6
1996 Fiesta Penn State 38, Texas 15
1995 Outback Penn State 43, Auburn 14
1994 Rose Penn State 38, Oregon 20
1993 Citrus Penn State 31, Tennessee 13
1992 Blockbuster Stanford 24, Penn State 3
1991 Fiesta Penn State 42, Tennessee 17
1990 Blockbuster Florida State 24, Penn State 17
1989 Holiday Penn State 50, BYU 39
1987 Citrus Clemson 35, Penn State 10
1986 Fiesta Penn State 14, Miami (Fla.) 10
1985 Orange Oklahoma 25, Penn State 10
1983 Aloha Penn State 13, Washington 10
1982 Sugar Penn State 27, Georgia 23
1981 Fiesta Penn State 26, USC 10
1980 Fiesta Penn State 31, Ohio State 19
1979 Liberty Penn State 9, Tulane 6
1978 Sugar Alabama 14, Penn State 7
1977 Fiesta Penn State 42, Arizona State 30
1976 Gator Notre Dame 20, Penn State 9
1975 Sugar Alabama 13, Penn State 6
1974 Cotton Penn State 41, Baylor 20
1973 Orange Penn State 16, LSU 9
1972 Sugar Oklahoma 14, Penn State
1971 Cotton Penn State 30, Texas 6
1969 Orange Penn State 10, Missouri 3
1968 Orange Penn State 15, Kansas 14
1967 Gator Penn State 17, Florida State 17
1962 Gator Florida 17, Penn State 7
1961 Gator Penn State 30, Georgia Tech 15
1960 Liberty Penn State 14, Oregon 12
1959 Liberty Penn State 7, Alabama 0
1947 Cotton Penn State 13, SMU 13
1922 Rose USC 14, Penn State 3
LSU Bowl History (21-18-1)
2009 Chick-fil-A LSU 38, Georgia Tech 3
2008 BCS Champ LSU 36, Ohio State 24
2007 Sugar LSU 41, Notre Dame 14
2005 Peach LSU 40, Miami 3
2004 Capital One Iowa 30, LSU 25
2003 Sugar LSU 21, Oklahoma 14
2002 Cotton Texas 35, LSU 20
2001 Sugar LSU 47, Illinois 34
2000 Peach LSU 28, Georgia Tech 14
1997 Independence LSU 27, Notre Dame 9
1996 Peach LSU 10, Clemson 7
1995 Independence LSU 45, Michigan State 26
1988 Hall of Fame Syracuse 23, LSU 10
1987 Gator LSU 30, South Carolina 13
1986 Sugar Nebraska 30, LSU 15
1985 Liberty Baylor 21, LSU 7
1984 Sugar Nebraska 28, LSU 10
1982 Orange Nebraska 21, LSU 20
1979 Tangerine LSU 34, Wake Forest 10
1978 Liberty Missouri 20, LSU 15
1977 Sun Stanford 24, LSU 14
1973 Orange Penn State 16, LSU 9
1972 Astro-Bluebonnet Tennessee 24, LSU 17
1971 Sun LSU 33, Iowa State 15
1970 Orange Nebraska 17, LSU 12
1968 Peach LSU 31, Florida State 27
1967 Sugar LSU 20, Wyoming 13
1965 Cotton LSU 14, Arkansas 7
1964 Sugar LSU 13, Syracuse 10
1963 Astro-Bluebonnet Baylor 14, LSU 7
1962 Cotton LSU 13, Texas 0
1961 Orange LSU 25, Colorado 7
1959 Sugar Mississippi 21, LSU 0
1958 Sugar LSU 7, Clemson 0
1949 Sugar Oklahoma 35, LSU 0
1946 Cotton LSU 0, Arkansas 0
1943 Orange LSU 19, Texas A&M 14
1937 Sugar Santa Clara 6, LSU 0
1936 Sugar Santa Clara 21, LSU 14
1935 Sugar TCU 3, LSU 2