A Look at Penn State

It has been 36 years since LSU and Penn State met on the football field. In the Capital One Bowl this January, what should the Tigers expect from the Nittany Lions?

Over the next few weeks, the Tiger football team will have what Les Miles called a “second spring,” an extended preparation session for their date with Penn State on Jan. 1, 2010.

The last time the two teams met was the 1974 Orange Bowl, a game where the Nittany Lions, led by Heisman winning running back John Cappelletti, topped the Tigers 16-9 to cap off an undefeated season.

Here are a few quick hitters on what coach Joe Paterno’s side is all about in 2009.


9/5 Akron W 31-7

9/12 Syracuse W 28-7

9/19 Temple W 31-6

9/26 Iowa L 21-10

10/3 @Illinois W 35-17

10/10 Eastern Illinois W 52-3

10/17 Minnesota W 20-0

10/24 @ Michigan W 35-10

10/31 @ Northwestern W 34-13

11/07 Ohio State L 24-7

11/14 Indiana W 31-20

11/21 @ Michigan State W 42-14


Penn State’s average of 412 yards of offensive production per game ranks 36th in the country – boasting both a 1,000-plus yard rusher and a passer reaching the 3,000-yard mark.

In his second season under center, senior quarterback Daryll Clark has been one of the chief workhorses.

Clark has completed 214-of-346 passes (61.9 percent) for 2,787 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His passer rating of 145.7 ranks No. 22 in the country.

Clark has thrown for over 200 yards on seven occasions in 2009, and twice the senior signal caller went over 300 yards – including PSU’s final game of the season, a 42-14 win over Michigan State where Clark completed 19-of-27 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns.

Two of Clark’s poorest performances came in the Nittany Lions losses to Iowa and Ohio State, where he was a combined 24-of-60 for 323 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

On the ground, Clark, behind 191 yards of production, has recorded a team-high seven touchdowns

Evan Royster, a junior who is averaging 5.9 yards per carry in his second season of backfield duties, has rushed for 1,104 yards and six touchdowns.

Royster has gone over the 100-yard mark six times this season, his most productive performance coming in a 134-yard, one-touchdown outing in late September against Temple.

When Clark goes to the air, receivers Derek Moye and Graham Zug and tight end Andrew Quarless have been targeted the most often.

Moye’s 45 catches for 732 yards are both team-bests, while Zug, who has recorded 42 catches for 549 yards, leads all receivers with seven touchdowns. Quarless, who had a 62-yard, two-touchdown outing against Michigan State in the team’s final regular season game, has recorded 448 yards of offense on 33 catches.



Defensively, the Nittany Lions boast one of the strongest units in the nation.

There average of 277 yards allowed per game ranks 12th in the country, a side strengthened through the play of one of the nation’s best linebacker corps.

Production wise, the PSU defense ranks in the top-20 at stopping both the run and pass, allowing an average of 94 yards on the ground and 183 through the air per game.

The top three tacklers on the team, Josh Hull, Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee, are all linebackers.

Hull leads all tacklers with 110 stops, 70 of which were unassisted. Bowman, a skilled rusher, has recorded 15 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Lee, who finished the season with 80 tackles, recorded seven pass break ups, the most among the group.

Defensive tackle Jared Odrick, whose six sacks is a team-best, leads the way in the trenches. The senior finished the regular season with 41 tackles, 10 of which were for a loss.


Special Teams:

Kicker Collin Wagner has been perfect on extra points (45-of-45), but has only converted 11-of-18 field goal attempts. Though he has only one miss from inside 30-yards, Wagner is just 4-of-10 from beyond the same mark.

The woes continue into the punting game, where PSU ranks among one of the worst teams in the nation with an average of just over 32 net yards per attempt.

Punt returns, which LSU ranks No. 1 in the country with just under 19 yards per return, is the biggest disparity between the sides. The Nittany Lions rank 107 out of 120 teams with less than five yards per return attempt.

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