Saturday, September 15, 2012

Five Key Match Ups for Penn State and Navy

Navy and Penn State go head-to-head in a must win game for both programs.  Five match-ups will be instrumental in deciding the outcome of the game.

1.  Trey Miller (Navy QB) vs. Deion Barnes and Sean Stanley (Penn State DEs)

The Navy offense will play as well as Trey Miller plays.  Miller's reads on Barnes and Stanley will be key to keeping the Navy running game successful and keeping the chains moving.  Miller carried the ball 20 times against Notre Dame but gained only 46 yards.  Barnes and Stanley must play disciplined football and contain Miller or Navy could be off to the races.

2.  Noah Copeland (Navy FB) vs. Jordan Hill (Penn State DT)

Navy's offense begins with the fullback Noah Copeland.  Copeland is a powerful runner with deceptive speed.  Against Notre Dame two weeks ago, the Irish contained Copeland and held him to 29 yards on six carries.  Jordan Hill's focus will be to use his 292 pound frame to keep Copeland from reaching the linebackers and allowing them to focus on running backs Gee Gee Greene and John Howell.

3.  Sam Ficken (Penn State K) vs. Sam Ficken's Head

This game could be a close one and Penn State must be able to rely on kicker Sam Ficken.  Last week at Virginia Ficken missed four field goals and had an extra point blocked.  After a week of outrageous comments and posts in numerous social networking sites, Ficken has the chance to redeem himself in they eyes of the Penn State faithful by giving Penn State scoring options other than touchdowns.

4.  Shawn Lynch and Casey Bolena (Navy WRs) vs.  Malcolm Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agayapong (Penn State DBs)

Everyone knows that Navy wants to run the football - and Navy WILL run the football.  They are perennial NCAA rushing leaders and have played entire games without attempting a pass.  With such a XXX to run the football, when they decide to pass the defense is often caught off guard.  With Lynch and Bolena's main job as run blockers, they are both capable of making big plays through the air.  Penn State's DBs can't be caught off guard just because the pair has only 11 career receptions.

5.  Matt McGloin (Penn State QB) vs. Tra'ves Bush (Navy DB)

Matt McGloin has become Penn State's fiery leader on offense and will be a challenge for the Navy defense.  With the loss of Silas Redd at running back, McGloin has assumed a larger role in the Nittany Lions' offense.  He has thrown 83 passes already this year and Tra'ves Bush will have his hands full.  Bush comes into the game with 156 career tackles and three interceptions.  Navy does not play well from behind and Navy must keep the game close and not give up big plays through the air.