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Navy vs. Penn State: What Nittany Lions Must Do to Get 1st Win of Season

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Quarterback Matthew McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions talks with head coach Bill O'Brien during the second half at Beaver Stadium on September 1, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

After everything the Penn State football program has gone through over the past year, a win would go a long way in helping set the school on the right direction.

New head coach Bill O'Brien has the odds stacked against him, but this team could easily be 2-0 heading into Week 3. A couple of bad bounces and a few missed kicks caused the team to lose their first two games, and they are now in danger of having a poor season.

In order to turn the season around, the Nittany Lions will have to fix a few things.

 

Get the Run Game Going

Through two games, Penn State is 103rd in the nation with an average of 106.5 rushing yards per game. Running back Derek Day is questionable with a shoulder injury, but he has only 3.2 yards per carry this season.

The Nittany Lions need to balance out the offense with a rushing attack to truly make it effective. This might require better scheming to clear up lanes, but it will be vital to the success of the team.

It will also help out the defense by keeping the opposing offense off the field.

 

Defend the Pass

The run defense improved greatly in the loss to Virginia, but quarterback Michael Rocco still tore apart the secondary. He threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns after Ohio quarterback tossed two touchdowns on 324 yards the week before.

These quarterbacks combined to complete 70.1 percent of their passes against Penn State.

Navy is starting to throw the football more with Trey Miller, so it is not the same option offense of old. More importantly, they will not be able to stick with the better teams in the Big Ten unless they learn to shut down the opposing quarterback.

 

Keep Confidence in Sam Ficken

Being a kicker at the collegiate level is all about confidence. Sam Ficken lost that confidence last week when he missed four field goals and an extra point in a one-point loss.

Unfortunately, no team will be able to win without a successful kicker. They need Ficken to get back on track against Navy so they have him for the rest of the year.

They should avoid letting him kick long field goals early, if possible. Instead, limit him to close field goals to ease back into full-time duties.

 

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