The last time the Nittany Lions squared off with 'Cuse they whooped them 55-13 in the Carrier Dome. I think we will see the same results tomorrow. This will be the 70th meeting between these two with Penn State having a 41-23-5 record over the Orange; it is time to break it all down.
Opponent: Syracuse Orange
When: September 12th, 12 noon EST - Big Ten Network
Where: Beaver Stadium
Penn State Key Players: QB Daryll Clark, HB Evan Royster, ILB Sean Lee
Syracuse Key Players: QB Greg Paulus, HB Delone Carter, LB Derrell Smith
Penn State Keys to the Game
1. Again...Don't Overlook teams like Syracuse
Like I said last week against Akron, they CAN NOT overlook these easy teams in anticipation of conference play. Of course we saw a prime example in Ohio State last week almost losing to Navy. It can cause a whole different team to go out on the field when they look ahead. They just need to focus on the game in front of them.
2. No Mercy
Don't let up in the second half like it seemed Penn State did last Saturday...not scoring a single point in the second half. Teams can really sneak up on you if you are not as intense as in the first half. It will also help them look a little better if they have a big lead in the first, and come out with just as many points in the second.
3. Players, play like yourselves
It's Syracuse, they aren't going to be a threat at all, just play like Penn State and get a W. Even mediocre play will get a win. They just have to have Daryll Clark play like himself, Evan Royster play like himself, and the defense play like themselves...you get the gist. No reason at all to lose to a wounded and hurting Syracuse.
Syracuse Keys to the Game
1. Greg Paulus MUST step up
Every team needs a good QB, so Paulus is going to need to be a leader and step it up. He will need to keep last week out of his mind if he wishes to even get close to winning in Happy Valley. Especially considering that the Orange won't get anywhere running, so they will have to exploit a fairly weak PSU secondary.
2. Defense, Defense, Defense
The defense of Syracuse is pretty bad, as is the offense. But, the defense is going to have to get to Clark to stop his great passing game he has going after a week against Akron. Derrell Smith is going to also lead the defense in stopping Evan Royster who is due for a big game. No WAY Syracuse wins without an amazing defensive performance.
Like with all upset hopefuls, they will need emotion. When playing Penn State, they will need tons and tons of it. Emotion is one advantage they have over Penn State who is playing this game like any other out of conference game. Syracuse is going to need that to even think of winning...no emotion, CERTAINLY now win. I'm not sure they will after just losing to Minnesota.
Key Player Stat Predictions
QB Daryll Clark: 13/22, 188 yards, 3 TDs
HB Evan Royster: 17 carries, 138 yards, 2 TDs
ILB Sean Lee: 10 tackles, 1 sack
QB Greg Paulus: 14/32, 112 yards, 1 TD
HB Delone Carter: 14 carries, 99 yards, 1 TD
LB Derrell Smith: 5 tackles, 0 sacks
Thoughts on the Game
I'm sure we will not see an upset on tomorrow, but I guess you never know. If Penn State just plays like Penn State, there will not be a problem at all. Penn State trumps everything over Syracuse, and in no way is Syracuse going to be able to keep up with PSU unless 'Cuse all of a sudden gets good tomorrow.
This is just simply going to be another experience game for the new wide receivers which is what it turned out to be last week against Akron and the three wide receivers showed they could be very dangerous. I'm looking forward to see how they are against one of the worst defenses in college football.
Look for Beaver Stadium to once again be packed full with 105,000+ screaming fans and another Win the win column for PSU. It may not be a big test for PSU yet, but they will soon have one (Nov. 7th). Time for my prediction:
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Penn State 45, Syracuse 14
*Don't forget to check out my recap article on Sunday as I will recap all the stats and plays of the game against Syracuse along with some of my opinions. Check that out then!