NCAA Week Eight: Penn State vs. Minnesota
PSU: 2010 record – 3-3
MN: 2010 record – 1-6
Spread: Penn State by 8
Where: TCF Bank Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPNU
Last time met: Oct. 17, 2009 – Evan Royster ran for 137 yards and Darryl threw for 287 yards and a touchdown in a 20-0 win.
Opposing player to watch – QB Adam Weber: Weber is one of the few bright spots for a dismal Golden Gopher football team. He has thrown 14 touchdowns while only tossing six interceptions this season. He has been effective despite not having many playmakers to help him out. Minnesota has lost six straight games and Weber may be their only chance to avoid another loss.
Offense: This could be a breakout game for Robert Bolden. He has struggled at times and has had trouble finding the end zone. Minnesota ranks last in the Big Ten in sacks and that should give Bolden plenty of times to hook up with his receivers. Evan Royster hasn’t been very consistent this season and could use a great game. He torched the Golden Gophers last year and could do the very same once again. Derek Moye and Devon Smith are two huge playmakers that Bolden could be looking for throughout the game. It would be nice to see Smith more involved in the offense. This game also could show more of freshman running back Silas Redd. Redd hasn’t had much of a chance to make an impact this year. He has shown brilliance in flashes and could get some time in mop up duty.
Defense: The Nittany Lions have struggled against Iowa and Illinois in the last few weeks. They have had a week off to try and make some adjustments for the remainder of the season. They will have an easier task today against a Minnesota squad without many playmakers. This should be a game where Penn State pressures the quarterback and forces some turnovers. I’d like to see more out of the pass rush this afternoon. It will also be interesting to see how they respond without their defensive leader Nick Sukay. The loss of Sukay for the season is absolutely devastating for a team that doesn’t get many turnovers as it is. This could be a chance for the youngsters to step it up and show their skills.
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season, CB Nick Sukay (Torn pectoral) *Out for the season, TE Garry Gilliam (torn ACL) *Out for the season
Illinois: S Kim Royston (broken bones in leg) *Could miss a few more weeks
Prediction: Penn State runs over a bad Minnesota team and Bolden shows he’s going to be a big-time player. Nittany Lions roll 38-13