Missing four field goal
opportunities that might led to an inspirational
road win at Virginia, the Nittany Lions are now 0-2. Navy traveled all the way to Ireland only to be hammered by the Fightin' Irish. So, which way do we go in our college football picks on this one?
Navy has had time to recover from
the 50-10 humiliation Notre Dame dished out in Ireland on September 1. Having nearly two
weeks to recover from the trip and to be able to prepare for Penn State
is a significant advantage entering Happy Valley.
I am not a cold person by any
stretch of the imagination and I of course want Penn State to play well and
have a successful season. It is not what
you accomplish, it is what you overcome that matters most in life on and off
the field. I do believe that PSU will overcome the hideousness of 2012, but it
will take years to rebuild what others have destroyed. Those othershave
nothing to do with these young men playing their hearts out for PSU and a game
they love to play at a high level.
You can’t feel worse for PSU
placekicker Sam Fricken who, despite a strong leg, missed four field goal
attempts against UVA last week. He will become a solid placekicker and may even boot a 50-yarder in front of the home fans,
but the real problem for PSU is the defensive backfield.
Navy runs the triple option,
which is the same offensive scheme used by Georgia Tech. Although the PSU
secondary will not be attacked as they were in the first two games, they will have
to step up and defend the option. With just a week to prepare, it will be very
difficult for this young team to execute well enough to stop Navy. Moreover, I
full expect to see Navy quarterback, Trey Miller, to move horizontally along
the line of scrimmage and then take three quick steps back and exploit the the
middle of the field with a tight end or running back who will have slipped out on
the reverse of the field.
Miller was 14-for-19 for 74%
passing and 165.4 passer rating against Notre Dame. So, this Navy team is not
all run and option. They are fully capable of running a pro set on occasion, and
this is where Navy will have great playmaking opportunities downfield.
Adding to PSU's woes is that they
will be forced to use a rotation of running backs for this game. Running
backs Bill Benton and Derek Day are not likely to play, and even if they
do, they will not be anywhere close to 90% healthy. Belton has a very sore and
swollen ankle, and Day has a severely bruised shoulder. The rotation would
include Zack Zwinak and Michael Zordich. PSU does have an elite running back in
Akeel Lynch, but are trying their best to keep him redshirt status to build for
Pick: Take Navy plus the points