The past 12 months have been extremely daunting and grueling for Penn State Nation. The Nittany Lions were enjoying a very successful season in 2011 when they were rocked by an unforeseen unpardonable bombshell. The repercussions of which will be felt for the better part of the next decade. Amid this turmoil one of the greatest football coaches of all time, the legendary Joe Paterno, lost his job and the legacy he worked so hard to create. However, the thing that probably hurt him most was the fact that his reputation would forever be tarnished. The entirety of it all created an inordinate amount of stress which seemed to exacerbate the health problems Joe Pa was experiencing until ultimately he lost his battle with lung cancer on January 23rd, 2012. With the Penn State football program reeling a decision was made to hire coach, Bill O’Brien, to be Joe Pa’s predecessor. Coach O’Brien was an integral part of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff over the past 5 seasons. In fact he was the Patriots’ Offensive Coordinator last season, a season in which the Patriots ranked 2nd in Total Offense and earned a trip to Super Bowl XLVI. This new era in Penn State football officially kicks off Saturday, September 1st at 12:06 pm in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions will don a blue ribbon on the back of their helmets in order to support all victims of child abuse. Penn State’s jerseys will also display player’s names for the first time in school history in recognition of their resolve and dedication to the team and university. Over the years Penn State has been outstanding in season openers compiling an impressive 92 – 19 – 2 record. The Nittany Lions hope to build upon that success this weekend by earning a victory against the Ohio Bobcats. This game will mark the 6th meeting between these teams. Penn State leads the all time series with Ohio 5 – 0 with the last game resulting in a convincing 35 – 16 Nittany Lion win back in 1974.
Ohio is looking to build upon last year’s success. The Bobcats finished the 2011 campaign 10 – 4 overall and earned their first bowl victory by defeating Utah State 24 – 23 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Bobcats are seeking their 4th MAC East title under the direction of coach, Frank Solich, and are the pre-season favorite to win the MAC Championship. A win over the Nittany Lions on Saturday would be the Bobcat’s first win against a Big Ten foe since 2006 in which they defeated the Fighting Illini 20 – 17. Ohio will definitely have to fight an uphill battle in order to earn a victory in Happy Valley on Saturday considering their overall record against Big Ten opponents is 6 – 37 – 1. However, if a team were going to beat Penn State in Beaver Stadium on the opening weekend of a season it would be this season considering everything the Nittany Lion program has been through.
Important Factors For Penn State Success:
- Help Matt McGloin get into a rhythm early so he gains confidence
- Put pressure on Tyler Tettleton
- Don’t allow Ohio to stay close on the scoreboard and gain confidence
Important Factors For Ohio Success:
- Protect Tyler Tettleton and give him a chance to make plays
- Wear out Penn State’s defense by sustaining drives and keeping them on the field
- Don’t turn the ball over.
How I See It:
I believe this game will come down to what Penn State’s defense can do to stop the Ohio Bobcat’s offense. Penn State’s defense is led by Gerald Hodges, Jordan Hill and Michael Mauti who will look to contain Tyler Tettleton threw for over 3,000 yards and accounted for 38 touchdowns last season. That being said, I believe Penn State will head into the locker room at half time leading by a touchdown and Ohio will be feeling good about themselves’ by keeping it close. However, the true resolve and grit of the Nittany Lions’ coupled with the emotion in Beaver Stadium on Saturday will be too much for the Bobcats to overcome.
Penn State 24 Ohio 20
About the Author
Written by Jeremy Hall
I have been an avid sports enthusiast my whole life and currently live in the greater Philadelphia area. So it goes without saying that I catch a lot of flack for being a die hard Redskins and Yankees fan. However, I also cheer for the Nittany Lions which provides me with a little bit of a reprieve.