There are only 200 days until Penn State kicks off the 2011 season. That means it is time to look ahead at what is in store for the Lions and what could be a special season.
We are going to breakdown each game and give our predictions on what you the fan can expect to see week to week from your Nittany Lions in 2011.
Here we go:
On September 3rd, Penn State will meet Indiana State at what should be a noon kick at Beaver Stadium.
The Sycamores will be coming into Penn State carrying a 6-5 record from 2010. The Sycamores are lead by a very inspiring head coach in Trent Miles. Miles will be in his fourth season in 2011 with the Sycamores. He had stints at Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington under Ty Willingham. The Sycamores are a very young team in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and have made huge strides under Miles. In 2010 the Sycamores finished tied for 3rd in the conference and look to push further in 2011.
The biggest question coming into this game is who will be Penn State’s starting quarterback? The starter should be Matt McGloin based on the end of last season and how Joe Paterno treated Rob Bolden. I expect Bolden to have a great summer, but McGloin will be the emotional leader of this team and his fiery attitude will be too much for Bolden to overcome and be named starter. Penn State has lacked an emotional spark as well as a verbal leader. McGloin seemed to have that spark in 2010 and the team rallied around him. McGloin does not lack confidence, his biggest fault was game experience. It showed in high-pressure situations, but we now will see a player who has been on the high and low end of success which is important for growth. I truly believe that if McGloin is given the reins in 2011 from day one, Penn State will be in position to be led by a confident QB who will be ready to put this team on his back.
Against the Sycamores expect a rebuilt Penn State offensive line to get their feet wet early and bowl over the Defensive line of Indiana State. Penn State will turn to Stephon Green and Silas Redd early and often and expect both to have huge days on the ground. Redd will break two huge runs of 40+ yards and score three TDs.
The passing game will find its rhythm with a TD to Derek Moye and Justin Brown as well.
Defensively, Penn State will have a huge day. The 2011 Defense should be the best Penn State has had since 2008 or even 2005. You will see three LBs who are poised to dominate offenses and who will be physically more dominant. It was clear in 2010 that Penn State struggled vs strong running backs and at times was completely run over. I think strength will be stressed in the spring and summer workouts. Devon Still will anchor a defensive line that will no longer be able to use inexperience as an excuse for lack of pressure. The D-line will be able to cycle through at least 12 players who have in-game experience and who are hungry to show what they can do. Expect at least six sacks by the defense in this game.
The secondary for Penn State may be unmatched in the Big Ten. Expect D’Anton Lynn to have a huge day and Stephon Morris with an interception. Penn State will need to get as many players game time as possible to be prepared for Alabama.
Penn State – 42
Indiana State – 0
Penn State fans will leave Beaver Stadium for the tailgates early, as the discussion about the Crimson Tide coming to town erupts. It will be an uneasy week in Happy Valley, but one that will see huge hype leading up to the game.
Next up: September 10th, 2011 – Alabama