Penn State-Notre Dame: Lions Have the Answer for Jimmy Clausen

Rick MontiCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2007

IconSaturday night, the 2007 Penn State Nittany Lions will square off against Notre Dame in one of the most highly-anticipated games in either school's history.

Let's break down the teams head-to-head...



Both teams still have major question marks on the offensive side of the ball.

Even though Penn State put up 59 points last week, it was against FIU—and the first-string running game wasn't very effective.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, couldn't buy a touchdown last week with their quarterback-by-committee system—especially not behind what looked like a very, very poor O-line.

This week, the Irish plan to start freshman and South Bend football icon Jimmy Clausen under center. Penn State hopes to have the kinks ironed out of their running game. 

The X-factor here has to be PSU's explosive wideouts and the experience of Anthony Morelli. Don't expect much from Clausen, who's making his first start in front of 110,000 rabid fans.

Advantage: Penn State (moderately)



This is a tale of two very different defenses.

One unit features a premier linebacker and corner, and is loaded with elite talent at almost every position. The other hasn't been able to stop the pass for two years—and last week looked as though they couldn't stop the run either.

Add Anthony Scirotto and Maurice Evans to Dan Connor and Justin King, and this becomes a no-brainer. Sorry Tom Zbikowski.

Advantage: Penn State (by far)


My prediction? I can't see Penn State not throwing the ball for a second straight year on the lowly Notre Dame pass defense. But watch out if PSU gets stubborn, because anything can happen with a the running game struggling.

Connor and King should have their way with the ND wide receivers and offensive line, respectively. The Irish will keep it close early, but look for the young Clausen to make some costly mistakes that end up killing his team.

Final Score: Penn State 21, Notre Dame 7