When: Saturday September 13th, 2008 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Where: Syracuse, New York in the Carrier Dome
Television: ABC – ESPN360 – ESPN Gameplan
Tailgating information: http://www.texanmarktailgate.blogspot.com/
The Spread: Opened at Syracuse +26.5 – which has already jumped to Syracuse +28.
Rivalry info: Syracuse and Penn State have faced off 68 times since 1922 but havent played each other since 1990. Penn State leads the series 40-23-5.
Coaches: Penn State – Joe Paterno – 42nd season at Penn State (374-125-3 overall.) Syracuse- Greg Robinson – 4th season at Syracuse (7-30 overall.)
Last time they played: October 13th, 1990. Penn State beat the Orange 27-21 in College Station.
Syracuse passing game (ranked #99) vs. the Penn State secondary (ranked #80): Last week against Akron – Senior Cameron Dantley was actually able to get a few things going in the air. Dantley completed 13 of 20 passes and threw for three touchdowns. The only problem is – 6 of those completed passes were to Tight Ends Mike Owen and Nick Provo – and two were to FB Tony Fiametta. No, its not a bad thing if your Tight Ends and backs are heavily involved in the passing game, especially with Brownings offense – but it’s a big problem when your Wide Receivers are basically non existent. Outside of Donte Davis (4 receptions a game) all other Orange receivers have only been able to manage a measly 5 total catches in two games against Northwestern and Akron – two teams that aren’t know for their cover corners. Penn State has seemed to of played a bit or a “bend but dont break” pass defense in its first two games giving up 450 yards in the air but for the most part has been able to keep the ball out of the endzone.
Who has the edge? With Dantley at the helm things seemed to flow a little bit more when it came to the passing game. If he can continue to involve TE Mike Owen and if Lobdell or Sales are able to step up – Dantley should be able to keep the Nittany Lions honest giving Carter and Brinkley a bit more room to run. Although Dantley looked promising – we’ll have to give Penn State the nod due to our lack of receivers. You would have to think Lavar Lobdell is at least better than WR Trent Usher out of Coastal Carolina (3 receptions/50 yards/TD against PSU) though…right?
Syracuse rushing attack (ranked #42) vs. the Penn State front six (ranked #29): Ah, one of the lone bright spots to the team this year. Brinkley and Carter have ran the very well thus far – both averaging nearly 6 1/2 yards a carry. Boonah was able to find his way into the endzone for the second straight game last week and racked up a career best 143 yards on 21 carries while Carter chipped in 77 on 13 carries. Although I do want to see one primary back recieve most of the carries – I don’t agree with a guy like Hogue only getting three carries. He’s too good of a player to keep on the sidelines and I would’ve loved to of seen him take that 4th down carry which definitely suits his running style. The more I see from our stable – the more I want to give all three of our backs twenty carries a game. With how we’ve thrown the ball…why bother? Penn State on the other hand has done pretty well against the run thus far – although the two teams they faced do most of their work in the air opposed to on the ground. All-Big 10 DE Maurice Evans and starting DT Abe Koroma have been suspended for this weekends game for a marijuana incident a few weeks ago.
Who has the edge? With the suspension of Evans and Koroma and with how Carter and Boonah have ran the ball so far – I’m going to give us the slight edge. The Offensive Line has done a much better job than last season and hopefully can continue to open a few lanes if we have any chance in competing this weekend.
Syracuse Offense (rated #87) vs. Penn State Defense (rated #50) synopsis: Hopefully Dantley can continue to provide some spark in the offense like he did last week against Akron. I really liked what I saw from the offense last week and if they can mirror what they did last week a few more times we might be able to stay competetive a bit later in this one than a lot of people think. Penn States defense has been relatively untested so far this season and the suspensions really work in our favor. Theres no reason we should be held under 20 points this Saturday.
Penn State passing game (ranked #42) vs. the Syracuse secondary (ranked #84): Penn State QB Darryl Clark has been a decent surprise this season and thus far has done all he has had to do to put a W on the board. Clark has only completed 25 passes out of 37 attempts for 361 yards and 3 TD’s in two games as Penn State has done a majority of their damage on the ground. Darryl is probably feeling better than ever – because after two games his offensive line has yet to let up a sack. Penn State won’t need to air things out this Saturday but if need be it seems Clark can just find WR Jordan Norwood – who has reeled in half of Clarks passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The Orange will probably have to have all 11 guys in the box if they have any chance at slowing up the Penn State rush offense – but Clark has the arm to burn you if need be. I don’t see Penn State throwing the ball more than 20 times but I’m sure Clark will hook up with Norwood a few times to keep up honest. Bruce Williams returns to Safety this weekend for the injured Mckinnon and is expected to start. Hopefully he didn’t forget to tackle.
Who has the edge? Penn State wont need to throw the ball – but if they do Clark should be able to dispose of Merkserson and Holmes accordingly.
Penn State rushing attack (ranked #7) vs. the Syracuse front seven (ranked #114): Touchdown Evan Royster. Thats something both Coastal Carolina and Oregon State have probably heard enough of – and something we’ll probably witness a handful of times this Saturday. Royster is off to a fast start this year after racking up 205 yards and 6 TD’s in two weeks of action. A touchdown every four carries isnt bad – and the Penn State offense as a whole has already put up 500+ rushing yards and 11 TD’s. The Orange on the other hand havent done much against the run – mostly because of poor tackling. Akron was able to ‘Zip’ through the Orange defense using the draw gaining 218 yards on the ground. Yeah, 218 yards on the ground to Akron. Arthur Jones has a lot of work on his hands.
Who has the edge? After almost three days of thinking this through – I’ll have to go with Penn State. Who am I kidding – Penn State is going to man handle us on the ground. What we’ll see this weekend is probably just a taste of what we’ll get from Devine, McCoy, and the likes later on this season.
Penn State Offense (ranked #12) vs. Syracuse Defense synopsis (#113): Penn State has dished out brilliant offensive performances so far and are averaging 55 points a game. The Orange have surrendered 36 points a game thus far…I don’t expect much to change this weekend.
Why Syracuse will win: The entire Penn State offense gets caught up in Down Under Leather on Marshall Street (pot shop) and get ripped before the game. Royster and Co. get so high they can’t even stand straight and continually fall over and our defense doesnt even need to make a tackle. (OK, maybe they’re not all pot heads…but c’mon, how else are we going to win/make a tackle?)
Why Penn State will win: They continue to run the ball as well as they did in the first two games.
Syracuse player to watch: RB Curtis Brinkley. Brinkley gained 143 yards on 21 carries last week with a score notching his best ever career start. He’s averaging 6.4 yards a carry this season.
Penn State player to watch: Quarterback Evan Royster. Royster has already scored 6 times this season and racked up 205 yards on the ground.
Reyes39 Prediction: Penn State 49 Syracuse 21
Lvilleorange Prediction: Penn State 56 Syracuse 10
CollegeFootballNews Prediction: Penn State 41 Syracuse 14
-Stats thanks to ncaa.org and cfbdatawarehouse.com
-click on photos to see them from host site