Category Archives: Evan Royster

A Sour End To The Regular Season

It wasn’t the way many thought this season would go.

It was a tough day for the seniors as penalties were a common theme. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Penn State Nittany Lions fell in their regular season finale 28-22 at the hands of Michigan State. The Spartans got off to a fast start and took the lead very early and did not look back.

Spartans running back Edwin Baker rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown in the win. Quarterback Kirk Cousins added two touchdown passes to propel Michigan State.

The Spartans took control of the game from the very beginning. They built up a 14-3 lead heading into halftime.

Penn State was able to move the ball in the first half but weren’t able to turn it into points. McGloin was solid in the first half but he just couldn’t move the Nittany Lions into field goal range.

The Spartans added an early third quarter touchdown courtesy of a 24-yard pass from Cousins to wide receiver B.J. Cunningham. It was Cunningham’s second touchdown on the afternoon.

Michigan State took a 21-3 lead and it didn’t look good for Penn State.

But Matt McGloin made a game of it. He started off the fourth quarter with a 25-yard touchdown pass to fullback Joe Suhey.

However the Spartans answered with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Keith Nichol to Charlie Gantt to extend the lead to 28-10.

The Nittany Lions did strike back rather quickly with a 10-yard touchdown run by Evan Royster. Royster had 85 yards rushing on the day.

The defense was able to get some late stops and got the ball back once again. The Nittany Lions did add another late touchdown courtesy of a McGloin 4-yard touchdown pass to Derek Moye to make it 28-22.

But that was as close as the Nittany Lions would get.

Penalties and bad defense were backbreakers for Penn State in the loss. If they would’ve played a more disclipined game, they may have had a strong chance to upend the Spartans.

The Nittany Lions will now look forward to a bowl game this holiday season. It should be interesting to see what type of matchup this unranked Penn State team draws.

It wasn’t the way the seniors wanted to go out at Beaver Stadium but that is the type of year that it has been.

They’ll have a chance to go out with a win in a few weeks in a bowl game.

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NCAA Week Eleven: Penn State vs. Ohio State

The running game has to wear down the Buckeye defense. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 6-3
OSU: 2010 record – 8-1
Spread: Ohio State by 18
Where: Ohio Stadium
When: Saturday, 3:30 PM on ABC/ESPN
Last time met: Nov. 7, 2009 – Terrelle Pryor threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown as the Buckeyes rolled 24-7. Graham Zug was the lone bright spot for the Nittany Lions grabbing seven catches for 96 yards in the loss.

Opposing player to watch – QB Terrelle Pryor: Pryor  has been the big man on campus for the Buckeyes for the last three years. He is always a threat to run and Penn State will always have to keep an eye on his running ability. He is not quite as effective if he is forced to stay in the pocket and throw. He has a decent arm and can still hurt any team. Despite being 8-for-17 in last year’s contest against the Nittany Lions, he still tossed a pair of touchdowns and led the Buckeyes to an easy win. Pryor’s pure athleticism is the one thing that makes him so dangerous. He is second on the team in rushing with 483 yards while Daniel Herron leads the team.

Offenses: The Nittany Lion offense is really clicking under Matt McGloin. McGloin will be under center in Columbus and gives Penn State the best to win right now. Robert Bolden just couldn’t move the football against Northwestern and was the reason that he was pulled. Paired with the booming running game, McGloin and the Nittany Lions stand a good chance to pull off the upset. Now they won’t be able to get behind like they did against Minnesota and Northwestern and still expect to win the game. Derek Moye is one player that I’ve been very impressed with this season. He seems to find a way to get in the end zone almost every week. He has been a safety blanket for both McGloin and Bolden. The Nittany Lions’ solid receiving core is one reason they have six wins on the season.

As Pryor goes so goes the Buckeye offense. When Pryor can buy time and create plays with his legs, Ohio State is very successful. The Buckeyes’ running game is very good. They rank third in the Big Ten averaging 211.8 yards-per-game and 5.0 yards-per-carry. Daniel Herron has 634 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Ohio State also boasts two wide receivers with over 600 yards receiving this season. Pryor has very good target including Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey. They have combined for 13 touchdowns. Pryor has plenty of offensive weapons and can carve up the Penn State defense if they are not on top of their game.

Advantage: As much as it pains me, the advantage has to go to Ohio State. Pryor is an experienced signal caller and led the Buckeyes to great seasons throughout the past three years.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions played excellent defense in the second half against Northwestern last week. They didn’t allow a single point in the second half and were the main reason that McGloin had a chance to bring back Penn State back. The Nittany Lions as other teams have, have had trouble with quarterbacks with running ability. They struggled with both Denard Robinson and Dan Persa and allowed huge chunks of yardage on the ground. Penn State can’t fall into the same pattern against Pryor and the Buckeyes. We all know Pryor loves to pull the ball down and take off into the open field. He doesn’t have the greatest arm in the world so his running ability really makes him the dangerous playmaker that he is. The pass rush will have to be strong and put pressure on Pryor. They also will have to have a quarterback spy on him at all times.

The Ohio State secondary is very strong despite the loss of defensive back Tyler Moeller for the season. They lead the Big Ten with 15 interceptions, so they clearly thrive on takeaways. The Buckeyes will most likely be looking to put pressure on McGloin early in the ballgame. This will be McGloin’s first career start on the road and the Buckeyes will be looking to take away his confidence. They are also fourth in the Big Ten with 16 sacks on the season. Penn State’s offensive line is playing better and will have to be on their game to protect McGloin. Senior captain and leading tackler Ross Homan should be back this week from his foot injury. Ohio State’s front-seven is certainly one of their many strengths and Homan will help to cause problems for the Penn State offense.

Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge due to its recent play. They need to get a few takeaways if they want to upend the Wolverines.

Injury Report:
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season, TE Garry Gilliam (torn ACL) *Out for the season
Ohio State: DB Tyler Moeller (torn pectoral) *Out for the season, DB Christian Bryant (foot infection) *Out for the season, LB Dorian Bell (concussion) *Expected to play, LB Ross Homan (foot) *Expected to play

Prediction: Penn State is playing well right now. I think they will take the Buckeyes to the brink of defeat. However I think Ohio State is way too good to lose this one. Buckeyes prevail in a close one 24-20.

Paterno Wins No. 400

JoePa is a true immortal. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

After falling into a 21-0 hole late in the first half, the quest for Joe Paterno’s 400th win wasn’t looking good.

The Penn State Nittany Lions came out flat at home against the Northwestern Wildcats at home and fell behind early.

Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa led Northwestern down the field on an opening 74-yard touchdown drive to put his team up 7-0 before anyone could blink.

Robert Bolden struggled for the Nittany Lions including coughing up a fumble which was recovered by Northwestern. On the next possession, Bolden was replaced by sophomore Matt McGloin.

Before Penn State could even muster any offense, Northwestern had a 21-0 lead off another Persa rushing touchdown and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Persa to Drake Dunsmore.

Dunsmore’s catch was one-handed in the back of end zone and is definitely one of the most incredible plays of the year so far.

Nearing halftime, McGloin and the Nittany Lions had to put some points on the board if they wanted to stay in the ballgame.

McGloin was able to get the Nittany Lions into the red zone before he hit Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone to make it 21-7 at halftime.

On their opening possession of the second half, Penn State broke out the running game. Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains over 10 yards on the drive.

The drive ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.

Suddenly the Nittany Lions had all the momentum and were only down 21-14 with very much of the game still to be played.

McGloin engineered a beautiful 91-yard drive which featured 20-yard passes to fullback Joe Suhey and wide receiver Graham Zug. It was completed with McGloin finding Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7 entering halftime.

Penn State came out in the second half featuring its talented running game. On their first possession, Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains of ten-plus yards.

The drive ended with a touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.

Suddenly Penn State was only down 21-14 and had all the momentum.

The Nittany Lion held Northwestern to a three-and-out and McGloin hit Derek Moye for a 36-yard touchdown on their next drive to tie the game with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.

Penn State’s defense was incredibly strong in the second half. They forced Northwestern to another three-and-out and got the ball back late in the third quarter.

Silas Redd capped off another nice drive with a nice touchdown run where he deked out a Wildcat defender to get into the end zone.

The Nittany Lions came all the way back from being down 21-0 nothing to scoring 28 unanswered points to take a 28-21 lead.

Penn State kept the momentum going with a 13-yard touchdown from McGloin to Royster to put the game out of reach.

The Nittany Lions defeated Northwestern 35-21 to win their third straight game and climb back into the Big Ten conference race.

The real test will come next week when McGloin and the Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Paterno has finally achieved his 400th college football victory. It is likely the only time such a feat will be achieved.

When asked what he kept him coaching throughout his 60 years of coaching, he said “the money.”

McGloin Shines In Win

There's a new all-time leading rusher in Happy Valley. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Without Robert Bolden, everyone was unsure how Penn State would perform.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt McGloin silenced all doubters.

McGloin passed for 250 yards and a touchdown in a 41-31 victory over Big Ten foe Michigan.

This was a game that the Nittany Lions had to win to stay in the race for bowl eligibility.

The defense came out very strong forcing Denard Robinson and the Wolverines to a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession.

In his first drive as the starter, McGloin certainly didn’t look to have any butterflies. He led the Nittany Lions down the field on a 71-yard touchdown drive, which resulted in an Evan Royster 4-yard touchdown run.

It was important for McGloin to come out and have a strong first drive to set the tempo for Penn State.

But then Robinson showed why he is one of the most dangerous players in the country. He led the Wolverines down the field and rushed for a 32-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.

Penn State couldn’t let Michigan gain the momentum and get a defensive stop.

Facing a 2nd-and-21 after Justin Brown lost his footing in the backfield, Michigan was licking its chops at possibly getting the ball back with good field position.

McGloin didn’t fold under pressure and hit Derek Moye for 27 yards on a pass that seemed to float in the air for days. The conversion kept the drive alive and gave the Nittany Lions a certain swagger.

On this drive, Royster became the all-time leading rusher in Penn State history. He passed Curt Warner to top the list.

Royster capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run off the left side to put the Nittany Lions ahead 14-7.

Penn State turned it on late in the second half and scored two touchdowns to take a 28-10 lead.

One came on a one-yard McGloin quarterback sneak and the other came on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Graham Zug to take the commanding lead into halftime.

The Nittany Lions added a field goal from Colin Wagner early in the third quarter to take a 31-10 lead over the Wolverines.

But the Wolverines would not go down without a fight.

Robinson threw for a touchdown and rushed for a pair of touchdowns to cut the lead to 38-31 with 9:34 remaining in the game.

Penn State answered with a 42-yard field goal from Wagner that made it 41-31 with just over five minutes left.

The defense then forced Robinson to turn the ball over on downs and the Nittany Lions proceeded to run out the clock.

This was a huge win for Penn State and was a win over a sold opponent. They will now prepare for Northwestern this upcoming Saturday.

It’s still unclear whether McGloin or Bolden will get the nod at quarterback. McGloin certainly raised his stock with his performances and should be the starter for the rest of the season.

NCAA Week Nine: Michigan vs. Penn State

The offensive attack could be a long way this week. (Paul Battaglia/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 4-3
MICH: 2010 record – 5-2
Spread: Michigan by 3
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, 8:00 PM on ESPN
Last time met: Oct. 24, 2009 – Darryl Clark threw four touchdown passes, three of which went to Graham Zug. Evan Royster added 100 rushing yards in a 35-10 win on the road. 156.5

Opposing player to watch – QB Dernard Robinson: Michigan was on a bye last week which allowed Robinson to get healthy. Robinson is one of the most electrifying players in college football and can break off a big run at any moment. He is averaging 156.5 yards rushing per game this season. Robinson looks to run before he looks to pass and his numbers clearly reflect that. He has also been successful through the air, passing for 1,319 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. The Nittany Lion defense will have to spy on Robinson on every play to try and keep him in the pocket.

Offenses: The Nittany Lion offense finally decided to show up this week against Minnesota. Matt McGloin filled in for the injured Robert Bolden, who is still sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. McGloin tossed a pair of touchdowns in just over two-and-a-half quarters of work. McGloin looks to be the starter this week against Michigan. The passing attack looked very solid with McGloin under center last week. The Nittany Lion receiving core had 206 yards receiving and made it very easy for McGloin to be successful. The running game was also very strong, compiling 147 rushing yards. Surprisingly, Silas Redd led Penn State with 71 yards rushing while Evan Royster only had 62. Redd is has become a bigger part of the Nittany Lion rushing attack in recent weeks. They really have a three-headed monster at running back with Royster, Redd, and Stephon Green. Still, the key to success against the Wolverines will be the play of McGloin. He looked good last week, but let’s not forget that it was against a bad Minnesota defense. He battled for the starting job all spring, so he has plenty of experience with the first team offense. Next to Iowa, Michigan is the best team that the Nittany Lions have faced this season. McGloin will need time in the pocket to have a good game and the offensive line will have to be stellar in dealing with the pass rush.

Everybody knows that Denard Robinson is one of the most dangerous players in college football. However the Wolverines have four very good wide receivers that can help him if he chooses not to run. Roy Roundtree, Junior Hemingway, Darryl Stonum, and Martavious Odoms all have at 15 catches and 200 yards receiving. Roundtree leads the way with 395 yards on 33 catches and has caught two touchdowns. Hemingway and Stonum also have two touchdowns on the season. Michigan’s ground consists of Robinson who has 170 carries this season. The next closest is Vincent Smith with 70 carries for 325 yards. Robinson is certainly the prime ball-carrier for the Wolverines. He leads the Big Ten in rushing with 1,096 yards. However, Robinson is a mere eighth in passing with only 1,319 yards. It’s clear that he is not nearly as effective when he is in the pocket. That will be something that the Penn State defense will have to key on.

Advantage: With the big-play capability of Denard Robinson, the Wolverines have the offensive advantage. They also have a good receiving core, but so do the Nittany Lions. The impact of Robinson alone gives a significant advantage to Michigan in this game.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense play was very solid last week against Minnesota. Adam Weber is certainly no slouch at quarterback. Last Saturday, Weber became only the fifth passer in Big Ten history to pass for 10,000 yards. Penn State was able to force Weber to throw an interception. Turnovers are something that could be harder to come by nowadays with the loss of cornerback Nick Sukay. The Nittany Lions stepped up and played better against a dreadful Minnesota team. The main concern is still the secondary. They allowed three touchdown receptions to Da’Jon McKnights of the Golden Gophers. That type of play cannot happen if Penn State expects to have a chance against a team like the Wolverines. They will have to get pressure on Denard Robinson and force him to stay in the pocket. That will be one of the keys to defeating Michigan on Saturday. Robinson’s injury could force him to not play quite as much, but we will have to wait and see. Michigan’s backup Tate Forcier is plenty capable of carrying the offense. However he isn’t nearly as mobile as Robinson.

The Wolverine secondary is one of its weaker points. They have allowed 296.3 yards per-game throughout the air on the season. Michigan is sixth in the Big Ten in interceptions with seven this season. They don’t get many takeaways, so that is certainly an area that Penn State can try to exploit. The Wolverines also don’t get very much pressure to the quarterback. They only have 10 sacks this season and Penn State does have a decent offensive line. Defensive nose tackle Mike Martin is one of the bright spots on a bad defense. He commands a constant double time and can really fill up the hole. This could poise significant problems for the Nittany Lion rushing attack which is a strong suit. His play could be the only chance the Wolverines have at stopping the Penn State ground game.

Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge due to its recent play. They need to get a few takeaways if they want to upend the Wolverines.

Injury Report:
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season, LB Gerald Hodges (Leg injury) *Out for at least two more weeks, TE Garry Gilliam (torn ACL) *Out for the season
Illinois: S Supo Sanni (ruptured Achilles tendon) *Out for the season

Prediction: McGloin impresses once again and throws for 250 yards with three touchdowns. Derek Moye has two touchdowns against a weak Michigan secondary. Penn State prevails 27-17.

Bolden Injured In Nittany Lions Win

 

An unexpected quarterback change could be just what the doctor ordered for the Nittany Lions. (Paul Battaglia/AP)

 

When Penn State freshmen quarterback Robert Bolden went down on Saturday against Minnesota, many people gasped as a mediocre season could potentially get much worse.

However, sophomore Matt McGloin stepped right in and threw two touchdown passes in a 33-21 win over a dismal Minnesota team.

McGloin threw was 6-for-13 for 76 yards and two touchdowns in a little over two quarters of work. Bolden went down when he was flushed out of the pocket midway through the second quarter.

The nature of Bolden’s injury hasn’t been revealed yet. He will undergo concussion testing this week in State College.

Before exiting the game, Bolden threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brent Brackett to put the Nittany Lions ahead 7-0.

While the Golden Gophers are a team that had lost six straight games, they certainly came out playing with fire.

Minnesota answered Penn State’s touchdown with a long 75-yard drive in which Adam Weber was very effective in the passing game. Weber ended the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight to tie the game.

Early in the second quarter, Bolden led Penn State down the field early in the second quarter which resulted in an Evan Royster touchdown run to put the Nittany Lions ahead 14-7.

With 8:59 left in the second quarter, Bolden was gang tackled by three Minnesota defenders on the far side of the field.

It didn’t take long for McGloin to get acculumated to the Penn State offense. On his second play as quarterback, he threw 42-yard bomb to hit Derek Moye in the end zone for a touchdown to put the Nittany Lions up 21-7 with 4:16 left in the half.

Penn State seemed to have steady control of this game, but Minnesota just would not go away. The Adam Weber-Da’Jon McKnight has absolutely lethal in this game.

Weber hit McKnight for a four-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 21-14.

McKnight had eight catches for 108 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. The loss of Nick Sukay is proving to be more and more crucial to the Nittany Lions defense’s success.

The Nittany Lions answered a 49-yard field goal from Colin Wagner, who has been very accurate this season.

Seven points was as close as the Golden Gophers would get. McGloin connected with Moye once against for a nine-yard touchdown to make the score 33-14.

Weber hit McKnight one more time for a touchdown. Minnesota’s defense was really the downfall for them in this game.

McKnight had a huge game, but it wasn’t enough as the Nittany Lions came away with the victory.

It will be interesting to see how Bolden reacts to concussion tests this week. It would be premature to rule him out, but it is unlikely to play with concussion syoptoms.

His progress will be monitored throughout the week as Penn State prepares to host the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.

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.

It's been a rough season to say the least. (Photo/AP)

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.

Injury Report:
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

Nittany Lions Stumble

 

Homecoming wasn't exactly a welcoming occasion for the Nittany Lions. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

 

The Nittany Lions may be in for a long season.

Penn State was dominated by an inexperienced Illinois football team. They fell 33-13 on the road in the second Big Ten contest of the season.

The Penn State offense was stifled all day by the Fighting Illini. Illinois only had one three-and-out throughout the entire game.

On their first offensive possession, the Nittany Lions were able to drive down the field. Colin Wagner booted a 28-yard field goal to give Penn State an early 3-0 lead.

The Fighting Illini were able to answer the Nittany Lions’ field goal with a touchdown of their own. Nathan Scheelhaase connected with receiver A.J. Jenkins for an 18-yard touchdown to give Illinois the lead.

The Illini were controlling the play for the majority of the first half. Robert Bolden was picked off by linebacker Nate Bussey and Bussey took the interception in for a touchdown making the score 14-3.

Bolden and company were able to answer in a huge way. The Illini kickoff was sent into the end zone for a touchback.

Bolden then throw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Derek Moye to put the Nittany Lions right back into the game.

Every time Penn State looked like they were cutting into lead, the Fighting Illini answered back with points of their own.

This time kicker Derek Dimke kicked a 50-yard field goal to make it a 17-10 game.

The teams traded a pair of field goals before halftime. The Nittany Lions found themselves down 20-13 at the half.

The second half was even worse than the first half. The Nittany Lions were held scoreless and gave up 13 points on defense.

The Fighting Illini added a trick-play touchdown and two field goals to win the game 33-13.

Penn State now stands at 3-3 at the midway point of the season. They have a bye week next week before travelling to Minnesota to face a very bad Golden Gophers team.

The Nittany Lions have a lot to work on and the inconsistency of the offense is among the top concern.

The inability to put points on the board is a major problem. Bolden is having a typical freshman season and is going through tremendous growing pains.

Penn State really needs to turn its play around if they want a bowl bid this season.

NCAA Week Six: Illinois vs Penn State

 

The offense has to step it up in the red zone and put points on the board! (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

 

PSU: 2010 record – 3-2
ILL: 2010 record – 2-2
Spread: Penn State by 8
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN2
Last time met: Oct. 3, 2009 – Evan Royster and Stephon Green combined for 225 rushing yards as the Nittany Lions rolled 35-17 on the road.

Opposing player to watch – RB Mikel LeShoure: LeShoure is enjoying a nice season so far averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He ranks second in the Big Ten averaging 119.5 rushing yards per game. LeShoure also ranks 13th in the country in rushing yards. He didn’t play against Penn State in last year’s contest. Robinson has carried for over 100 yards in three out of four Illinois games this season.  He is a decent size back who is getting more carries this season. The Nittany Lions sometimes struggle stopping the run so LeShoure could be a huge asset for the Illini.

Offenses: Scoring points continues to be a huge problem for the Nittany Lions. They could only manage three measly points against the Hawkeyes last week. Once again they struggled in the red zone. Penn State went three-and-out on their first three drives and weren’t able to gather any rhythm. Part it could be part of the fact that the Nittany Lions didn’t run the ball hardly. Evan Royster only had ten carries and he really needs to be a part of the offense for Penn State to be effective. Bolden struggled going 20-for-37 with an interception and was constantly stifled by the Hawkeye defense. There were a few small bright spots for the Nittany Lions in the receiving core. Brent Brackett hauled in a huge 49 yard pass from Bolden towards the end of the first-half. Devon Smith also continued to show how quick and effective he can be. Smith caught five passes for 58 yards and looks like he could be a great asset to the Penn State receiving core. Bolden just simply needs to put the ball into the end zone. He has shown flashes of brillance but just seems to struggle once he enters the red zone. Maybe it’s the pressure getting to the freshman but he needs to improve in the red zone if Penn State is going to be successful.

The Illinois Fighting Illini has averaged 332 yards of offense per game this season which is last in the Big Ten. In their first four games this season, the Fighting Illini have scored only 89 points. Nathan Scheelhaase has struggled so far this season. He is 43-for-79 for 489 yards and only three touchdowns. Scheelhaase has also thrown four interceptions. Illinois hasn’t exactly played against elite competition. Their two wins were against Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. This game will certainly be a challenging one for them. The Fighting Illini will be depending heavily on LeShoure in the running game if they want to pull the upset. Their top two receivers have only combined for 29 catches on the season. A.J. Jenkins and Jarred Fayson have combined for 335 yards in four games. The next receiver only has four catches, so Illinois just doesn’t seem to be having much success this season.

Advantage: Penn State has a significant advantage. Bolden has struggled but overall he hasn’t looked bad. There are just more playmakers in the Nittany Lions’ offense and the Illini won’t be able to put enough points on the board.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense struggled last week on the road in Iowa. They gave up ten points before anyone could even blink. They had problems with experience signal caller Ricky Stanzi. The Penn State defense should have a nice rebound game against the Fighting Illini. Illinois doesn’t have a pass heavy offense and should be looking to run the ball quite often. The Nittany Lions front seven will have to stack the box and try to shut down LeShoure. If they can force the Illini to start throwing the ball, it could pose an advantage for Penn State. Defensive back Nick Sukay is enjoying a great 2010 season so far leading the team with three interceptions. The Nittany Lions need to step up the pass rush. They only sacked Stanzi once last week and the lack of pressure was one of the main reasons they fell on the road.

The Fighting Illini defense does possess a solid pass rush. They are tied for third in sacks in the Big Ten with ten. However they are tenth in the Big Ten in interceptions with only two. Junior safety Trulon Henry has both of the Fighting Illini interceptions on the year. Middle linebacker Martez Wilson leads the charge on defense. Wilson missed 11 games last season and is one of Ron Zook’s most prized recruits since coming to Illinois. Wilson was one of the few bright spots in Illinois’ loss against Ohio State, in which he had nine tackles and a sack. Wilson ranks in the top five in the Big Ten averaging 8.5 tackles per game. The Penn State offense will have to know where Wilson is at all times on Saturday. Defensive tackle Corey Liuget will also bring a physical edge to the Fighting Illini defense.

Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge with a talented secondary that thrives on takeaways. Stopping the running game will be very key for the Nittany Lions.

Injury Report:
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season, LB Gerald Hodges (Leg injury) *Out for at least two more weeks, TE Garry Gilliam (torn ACL) *Out for the season
Illinois: S Supo Sanni (ruptured Achilles tendon) *Out for the season

Prediction: Penn State handles Illinois 24-10 with Bolden having a solid day through the air.

Hawkeyes Roll At Home

Another devastating loss at the hands of the Hawkeyes. Robinson gave the Nittany Lions fits on this night. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The Iowa Hawkeyes have just had Penn State’s number the last few years. 

The Nittany Lions went into Kinnick Stadium and were dominated once again by the Hawkeyes 24-3 to open up Big Ten conference play.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi was very efficient for the Hawkeyes, going  16-for-22 for 227 yards and a touchdown pass.  He added a touchdown run of his own as well.

Iowa dominated this game from the start.  The Hawkeyes marched down the field on the opening possession and notched a 20 yard field goal courtesy of Michael Meyer, who replaced the injured Dan Murray.

Running back Adam Robinson rushed for 95 yards in the game and was very tough to bring down.  Robinson added 21 yards on just the first drive alone.

The Nittany Lions went three-and-out on their first three drives and found themselves in an early hole.  Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos in the back of the end zone to give the Hawkeyes a 10-0 lead.

Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt combined for nine catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.  They were clearly Stanzi’s favorite targets all night.

The first half was downright awful for the Nittany Lions on both sides of the ball.  The offense couldn’t sustain long drives and the defense couldn’t get off the field.

With 1:52 remaining in the first half, Ricky Stanzi rushed for a one-yard touchdown to give the Hawkeyes a commanding 17-0 advantage. 

Freshmen quarterback Robert Bolden was able to run the two-minute drill and drives the Nittany Lions down the field late in the first half.  The drive ended with a 25 yard field goal by Colin Wagner.  It was set up by a 49 yard completion to receiver Brent Brackett in which he snuck behind the secondary.

Penn State was 0-for-5 on third down conversions in the first half.  Bolden couldn’t pick up first downs and that caused the Nittany Lions to be down such a large margin at halftime.

The second half didn’t turn out any better for the Nittany Lions.  Defensive back Shaun Prater added a 33 yard interception return for a touchdown to make the score 24-3.

The inept offense was the main concern throughout the game for the Nittany Lions.  Bolden could not move his troops down the field at all aside from the drive at the end of the first half.

It was not a good start to Big Ten conference play.  Penn State will face Illinois at Beaver Stadium next week.  Illinois may be 2-2 but they hung tough with Ohio State this week only losing by 11 points. 

The Nittany Lions are really suffering without an experienced quarterback.  But maybe Bolden can learn and turn into a great signal caller in a few years and led Penn State to the promised land.