Friday, October 26, 2007

Game of the Week

Let's hope Penn State's Joe Paterno has it under control this time. Last September, during a 28-6 beating at the hands of Ohio State in Columbus, Paterno left the field not once, but twice during the game, reappearing the second time in an ill-fitting pair of dark pants (inset). As the story goes, Paterno had a touch of the flu. The likely story is that he took a crap in his pants, announced to the nation by ABC's Bonnie Bernstein.

The rematch is Saturday, this time in Happy Valley, and Paterno isn't the only Nittany Lion with toilet trouble. Port-a-potties around Beaver Stadium have been woefully inadequate and officials are scrambling to find more. While the university says it had 378 portables in place for the last home game, officials say 957 are needed for the 100,000 fans that attend games.

But enough about that crap. What about the game? We welcome Jason of the Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors and Kevin of We Are Penn State to break this one down. First, let's hear from Jason:
"The game will be a big challenge for the Buckeyes. The team is green with only five seniors on the two-deep and the younger guys have never experienced anything like what they'll witness in Happy Valley. Penn State is doing a lot of the small things right this season. The Nittany Lions don't commit penalties, they execute extremely well on special teams and they have a coach that started coaching when Winston Churchill was still running England. He has seen a few things.

"Still, I think when you look at the two units side by side, Ohio State has the edge on both offense and defense. I don't expect the Buckeye offense to move the ball up and down the field, but they'll get what it takes and the defense will do the rest.

"Simply put, Penn State has never seen a defense like they'll see on Saturday night. Once the running game has been taken away early, Anthony Morelli will be forced to try to win it with his arm. That isn't going to happen."

Now let's hear from Kevin:

"The numbers are frightening: an average final score of 34-8 ... an absurd 3.3 yards allowed per play ... only 23 points allowed by the first-team defense...

"But with all due respect to The Ohio State, who has it played?

"Youngstown State: I-AA

"Akron: 3-4

"Washington: 2-5

"Northwestern: 5-3, win against I-AA team, home loss to Dook

"Minnesota: 1-7, home loss to I-AA team

"Purdon't: 6-2, but badly exposed as a pretender after a 5-0 start

"Kent State: 3-5, win against I-AA team

"Michigan State: 1-3 in the Big Ten

"The Ohio State may deserve its No. 1 ranking, but has it really been tested? The Buckeyes have certainly faced nothing like the Penn State defense, they haven't played in a White Out with the dulcet tones of Zombie Nation rocking the stadium, and — shockingly — Morelli may be the best quarterback they've faced so far this year.

"Penn State has a chance if they can protect the football [turnovers led directly to the losses at Michigan and Illinois] and Maurice Evans has his typical game. [Big Mo is second in the country in sacks.] If not, it will be a long evening for Nittany Nation.

"Call it 17-6 in favor of the Buckeyes."

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