Ohio vs. Penn State Football: 3 Reasons the New PSU Era Will Start Well
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A lot of attention is being placed on the Penn State season opener, very little to do with football. The Nittany Lions had one of the most tumultuous offseasons in history, but there are a few reasons why their new era will start off well on Saturday.
Penn State is favored by just six points over Ohio University. That’s Ohio out of the MAC, not The Ohio State University.
Ohio is no easy opponent. It has a ton of talent, including junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who passed for more than 3,000 yards and completed nearly 65 percent of his passes.
Against Rutgers last season, Tettleton threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t throw a pick.
His top target last year LaVon Brazill, a 1,000-yard receiver, is an Indianapolis Colt. Tettleton will need to find a new target against Penn State.
The Nittany Lion defense finished 20th in total defense last season, giving up 323.92 yards per game.
They return two stand-out senior linebackers in Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, looking to them on a weekly basis.
Just six-point favorites, Penn State’s new era kicks off Saturday and will start well. Here’s why.
Michael Mauti is back from an ACL injury that knocked him out for most of the 2011 season.
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Great linebackers are tradition at Penn State. Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti are just two more in the line of a storied defensive system.
Mauti will be even more hungry to perform after being knocked out of the 2011 campaign with a torn ACL.
The Nittany Lions return four starters total on defense. The unit finished 20th in the country in total defense.
That may be the biggest blessing for PSU.
The Penn State offense will struggle without top rusher Silas Redd and top receiver Justin Brown, meaning the defense should get plenty of opportunities to perform.
The defensive line doesn’t have depth but it does have talent. Led by senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill, the Nittany Lion front should be able to control the line of scrimmage this week.
First-year coordinator Ted Roof will throw everything he can draw up at the Bobcats.
Offensive Role Players Given a Chance to Shine
Matt McGloin will command the offense in his final season at PSU.
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Starting quarterback Matt McGloin finally has the huddle all to himself. The senior started five games last season, throwing for 1,571 yards and 10 touchdowns.
His final season at Penn State gives him a great opportunity to command a completely retooled offense.
The departure of Silas Redd gives sophomore running back Bill Belton the chance to be the top rusher.
At 5’10” and 202 lbs, Belton is a handful to bring down in the open field. He was used mostly as the “Wildcat” back for Penn State last season and should get the majority of the carries this year.
The former all-state selection will shoulder a big load for the offense that will be focused entirely on just getting first downs.
At wide receiver, Justin Brown’s departure gives sophomore Allen Robinson a chance for targets. He’s talented, but unproven, for now.
Penn State’s offense was awful last season, finishing 110th in the nation in scoring (19.3 points per game). It will have a new look under first-year head coach Bill O’Brien.
It can’t get much worse for PSU on offense.
Giving last year’s role players an opportunity to shine against a veteran Ohio defense will benefit the Nittany Lions greatly.
Something Else to Talk About
Bill O'Brien and Penn State will finally have something else to talk about.
Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
The events that came to light this offseason are tragic to say the least. The current PSU players have had to deal with the coverage every day since the story broke.
Focusing on football, or even academics, took a backseat to the media coverage.
Penn State’s game this weekend will provide the players with an escape from it all, for at least three hours.
The media has analyzed every bit of the Nittany Lion offseason through the scope of the horrific events. Saturday, the program gets to turn the page.
If the players are lucky, when they see themselves in the media from here on, it will be discussing their performance on the field. The players deserve that amount of respect.
They have 12 games that span almost four months. Let them play football. Let the kids enjoy the beginning, or end, of their Penn State careers.
Regardless of outcome Saturday, the Penn State game against Ohio will be positive for the program and the community.