The Penn State Nittany Lions are one of the best defensive teams on the entire college football map, but they have had trouble over the first three weeks of the 2011 season getting the offense to work efficiently.
With the Eastern Michigan Eagles heading to Happy Valley, the hope of the Penn State faithful is that the mediocre opponent will be the recipe for the offense to figure things out.
There is a plethora of Big 10 games still on the schedule, and it the Nittany Lions wasn’t to have any chance of contending in the conference, they need to make an example of Eastern Michigan and get their offense together.
Where: Beaver Stadium, Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
When: Saturday, September 24, 12:00 P.M. EST
Watch: ESPN 2, live streaming at ESPN3.com
What They’re Saying
ESPN college football analyst Pat Forte is reporting about the state of the Penn State program:
This is a typical Pat Forde trashing the schools that are rich in history and not succumbing to the new ways of doing things. Joe Paterno has kept the Penn State program relevant for 40 years, and Forte just doesn’t like how the Penn State haven’t sold their soul to the corporate devil.
Chima Okoli, OT, Probable
Dakota Royer, LB, Doubtful
Dominique Sherrer, RB, Questionable
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
While Eastern Michigan isn’t much of a treat to do anything in the BCS or get into the AP Top 25, the Penn State Nittany Lions are fighting hard to break into serious bowl contention.
In a very winnable Big 10, the Nittany Lions are looking to make an example of the Eastern Michigan Eagles and put in another bid for top 25 considerations.
Keys to an Eastern Michigan Win—Dominique Sherrer, Running Back
With an injury to running back Dominique Sherrer, the Eastern Michigan two running back system will be dismantled and rendered helpless. If the senior doesn’t play, the game could be even more of a blowout than previously thought.
Keys to a Penn State Win—Silas Redd, Running Back
Sophomore Silas Redd is the biggest offensive threat of the Nittany Lions, and his 50 carries for 255 yards and four touchdowns have been the bright spot of an offense that has looked lost at times this season. If Redd gets loose, he will run all over the Eagles and run the score up for good measure.
Prediction—Penn State 27, Eastern Michigan 13
While they should blowout the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Penn State Nittany Lions aren’t good at doing what the experts say they will, and I expect a wild game like the one last week with an upstart Temple University program.
If Eastern Michigan has any hope at all, it will have to come on a Penn State secondary that has showed it is susceptible to the long plays, but the Eagles don’t have the personnel to exploit the Nittany Lions weaknesses.