PENN STATE: Four Days and Counting

Bloomington - Navorro Bowman (pictured) is just one of the NFL-caliber Penn State players that Indiana will have to contend with on Saturday when the two teams meet in Beaver Stadium...

Navorro Bowman, OLB - Despite missing most of the season's first three games due to a groin injury, the 6'1", 232-pound Bowman has bounced back to rank second on the team with 62 tackles and 10 tackles for loss despite playing in only seven games. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors a season ago after totaling 106 tackles and 16 ½ tackles for loss, and he's a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player. Bowman is only a junior, but this could very well be his final home game at Beaver Stadium. ESPN.com's Todd McShay ranks Bowman as the 13th-best prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, which would be difficult for him to pass up. He has NFL-caliber speed and quickness, and he combines with Sean Lee and Josh Hull to give the Lions one of the nation's best group of linebackers.

Evan Royster, RB - Another junior who might be tempted to leave early for the NFL, Royster ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing with 158 carries for 895 yards and five touchdowns. A 1,200-yard rusher as a sophomore, Royster has five 100-yard games this season and 11 for his career, and another one against Indiana would give him back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for Coach Joe Paterno. That's something Indiana's defense can ill-afford to allow, since Penn State is 11-0 in games that Royster has eclipsed the century mark. Royster combines excellent size (6'1", 213 pounds) with excellent quickness and vision. He has been a bit injury-prone during his career and he did have his knee buckle in pre-game warm-ups last weekend against Ohio State. But he did start against the Buckeyes, running 13 times for a season-low 36 yards.

Jared Odrick, DT – the Nittany Lions' 6'5", 306-pound defensive tackle recently drew high praise from Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, who put Odrick in the same class as Matt Millen, Mike Reid and Steve Smear when it comes to great defensive tackles that have gone through the program. Odrick has attracted double teams all season from opposing teams, and he'll likely be a focal point of the Hoosiers' blocking schemes as well. Despite all the attention, Odrick has still managed to total 36 tackles, along with a team-high six sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He was a first-team All-Big Ten in 2008 and figures to make it back-to-back awards at the end of the season. A likely first or second-round NFL Draft pick next spring, Odrick is also someone to be concerned about on special teams as he blocked a field goal attempt two weeks ago in the Lions' win over Northwestern.

Tom Golarz, DE – you won't see the 6'1", 249-pound Golarz in the Nittany Lions' starting line-up, but he'll get a chance at some point to make an impact against his hometown school either on defense or special teams. Golarz starred as a prep at Bloomington (Ind.) North H.S., totaling 77 tackles and 17 tackles for loss as a senior before deciding to walk-on at Penn State. Now a senior, Golarz is a third-string defensive end who has played in eight games this season and totaled two tackles. He's a former high school teammate of back-up Indiana linebacker Leon Beckum, who walked on to the IU program one year after Golarz arrived at Penn State.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

Peegs.com Top Stories