Friday, November 6, 2009

Border War

On the eve of Ohio State I am surprisingly confident that we will pull out a victory. I've been really impressed with the way we've been playing since the Iowa loss, and I don't think the Buckeyes have the offense to keep the pressure on us if our offense stalls on one or two possessions. Pryor is easily rattled and it's not a secret anymore. He hasn't played in an environment like Beaver Stadium yet as a starter. Last year, Todd Boeckman was still the starter when they played at USC and they had Michigan at home. The student section can smell fear, all 25,000 of them will make themselves at home in Pryor's head early. I hate to focus too much on one player here, I do acknowledge that they have some decent receivers in Sanzenbacher and Posey, and Saine is more than capable, but unless Tressel cooks up some Meyer-esque ways of getting them the ball I don't see the point in analyzing their offense beyond Pryor - they go as he goes. The Ohio State line isn't doing him any favors either, they have given up 15 sacks this year which is respectable, but that's more a testament to Pryor's mobility than it is to their blocking prowess.

For Penn State it comes down to the play-calling as usual. I'm slightly frustrated just thinking about it. Tomorrow, all those watching will get (I hope I'm wrong about this) a steady dose of deep outs and halfback draws. I've been dying to see us go out and get it! When Paterno says, "We can't beat ourselves" before a game like this (he did), I start feeling lightheaded because I know that there's no way we're winning by more than 10 points.

A couple of things I'd like to see:

Derek Moye getting at least two chances at a ball downfield. The kid is the best deep threat we've had in years already.

The utilization of Andrew Quarless, our professionally talented tight end. We need to work the middle of the field with Quarless if we want to be up by more than one score in this game. He's big and fast and has great hands, why he ever comes out of a game with less than 6 targets is beyond me.

Ako Poti to continue holding down our new-look line. This is the second toughest test for our line this year, and Poti didn't play in the first. I'm aware who Cameron Heyward is, and I hope we find a way to make neutralize him in this game. Maybe run a couple screens to his side or that fake bubble screen handoff to try to freeze him for a split second. I need my boy DC to be as relaxed as possible.

Which brings me to my last point: Clark. Look, he's been unreal, and I know we haven't played anyone but he has played his most efficient ball lately, the receivers and him are on the same page at all times and now he has a running game to help him out. He's got 22 TDs this year. BUUUUUT, has he won a big game? I hate saying this, but not really, this would be his biggest victory if he pulled it out. Remember, last year he was out with a concussion on the final drive against OSU, Devlin took us in for the go ahead score. Clark really needs a signature win on his resume, and this might not qualify, but it would be his best.

I think we take this one 24-14.


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