15 September 2006

Youngstown State vs. Penn State

Most Penn State fans will be eagerly looking forward to next week's game with Ohio State in Columbus. But if JoePa says his players are focused on Saturday's game with Youngstown State, we should probably take their word for it and give the game its due.

I think this game will look a lot like last year (does the Illinois game bring back any memories?).
This game should be "over" by halftime. Which means you can expect to see most of the fireworks in the first half.

On offense, Anthony Morelli should heave a few bombs in the direction of Derrick Williams and Deon Butler. The offensive line should clear some gaping holes for Tony Hunt and Rodney Kinlaw (who is backing up Hunt now that former backup Austin Scott has apparently accepted a medical redshirt). I would be disappointed if the Nittany Lions didn't put up at least 40 points, most of that in the first half.

The defense will do well to stuff the run (Youngstown State being a run first team), which will force them to pass more than they'd like. The defense should collect a handful of sacks, perhaps an interception or two, and maybe even a defensive touchdown. If Youngstown State was to score more than 7-10 points (at least against the first team defense) I'd be very disappointed in the defense's effort.

Let's hope that a few extra reps at practice were spent working on special teams, mostly snaps and holds between longsnapper Jay Alford and holder Jason Ganter. I don't want to see any more of those botched plays for the rest of the season. I think a special teams touchdown is possible, either on a return or a blocked punt.

If the game is indeed "over" by halftime, expect to see backup QB Daryll Clark (a Youngstown, Ohio native) take a bunch of second half snaps. Paul Cianciolo may even see some time at QB. The second half should give a whole bunch of guys an opportunity for some playing time.

I'm going conservative with my prediction. Penn State should score more, and Youngstown State will be lucky to point this many points on the board: Penn State 40, Youngstown State 7.
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