Scouting Report: Penn State

The Navy Midshipmen (0-1) travel to University Park, Pennsylvania to face a Penn State Nittany Lion (0-2, 0-0) team that has been under a microscope since news broke of the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2011. The Nittany Lions are coming off a heartbreaking 17-16 loss a week ago to Virginia that saw Penn State kicker Sam Ficken miss an extra point and four field goals from 40, 38, 20, and 42 yards.

In both games State has taken the lead in the first half but faltered late with opponents outscoring them 35-9 in the second half.

Penn State fought a valiant defensive effort against the Cavaliers holding them to 32 yards on 25 carries. The Nittany Lion defense forced four turnovers but were unable to capitalize--scoring only three points in result. State led 16-10 with less than seven minutes remaining but Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco led the Cavs on a 12 play, 86-yard drive to take a one point lead.

Running back Derek Day led the Nittany Lions with 47 yards on 18 carries and added a 17-yard reception. Penn state receiver Allen Robinson topped the receivers with 10 catches for 89 yards and a score. Junior Alex Kenney had three catches for 50 yards and tight end Kyle Carter added four catches and a score.

In the season opener against Ohio, Penn State signal caller Matt McGloin completed 27 for 48 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Late in the first quarter McGloin drove the Nittany Lions 80 yards resulting in a 6-yard touchdown pass to tailback Bill Belton. Late in the first half a blocked punt by true freshman Nyeem Wartman set State up for a 14-yard McGloin touchdown pass to tight end Matt Lehman.

Penn State maintained a 14-3 halftime lead, but Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton led the Bobcats in the second half--scoring 21 unanswered points. Tettleton torched the Penn State secondary completing 31 for 41 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Robinson led the receiving corps with nine catches for 97 yards and sophomore tight end Kyle Carter added six catches for 74 yards. Sophomore tailback Bill Belton added three catches for 16 yards and a score and ran for 53 yards on 13 carries.

Offensively Navy and Penn State are locked in a statistical dead heat, tied for 87th in the country averaging 341 total yards of offense per game. With a 91-64 pass-run ratio, the Nittany Lions prefer airing it out to running the ball and are led by senior signal caller Matthew McGloin. The fifth-year senior has thrown for 457 yards and four scores averaging 228½ yards per game.

Sophomore receiver Allen Robinson is McGloin's top target with 19 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore tight end Kyle Carter has ten catches for 107 yards and a score while senior receiver Shawney Kersey adds six catches for 44 yards.

State's rushing game has yet to have a rusher reach the 100-yard mark, or to find the end zone this season. Silas Redd ran for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns for the Nittany Lions in 2011, and decided to take his talents to USC after sanctions against Penn State. Senior running back Derek Day is the closest with 83 yards on 26 carries but injured his shoulder and is rumored to be out for a good chunk of the season. State's second leading rusher Bill Belton was out against Virginia due to a sprained ankle. Junior Zach Zwinak and senior Curtis Dukes could also get significant snaps at a Penn State running back spot with growing issues.

In the season opener against Ohio, the Nittany Lion defense gave up 499 total yards of offense against the Bobcat defense. Middle linebacker Glenn Carson led the defense with nine tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack. Outside linebacker Gerald Hodges added 11 tackles, returned a kickoff for 12 yards, and muffed a punt that set Ohio kicker Matt Weller up for 22-yard field goal. Senior safety Malcolm Willis led the secondary with two pass breakups while adding six tackles.

A week ago against Virginia, defensive end Deion Barnes had two sacks and a forced fumble that led to Sam Ficken's 32-yard field goal. Senior cornerback Stephon Morris added four tackles and a tackle for loss. Elsewhere in the secondary, senior safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong added four tackles and returned a fumble forced by Michael Mauti 20 yards to Virginia's 17-yard line. Fifth-year senior Michael Mauti leads the team with 21 tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee the fourth game of the season. Sophomore cornerback Adrian Amos leads the secondary with 16 tackles and a tackle for loss. Senior safety Jacob Fagnano is the third leading tackler amount the secondary with ten on the season.

Penn State's special teams unit has yet to have a player return a punt for more than four yards. Adrian Amos and Bill Belton have returned a pair of kicks each with Belton the top averaged at 22½ yards per kick return.

Last year Anthony Fera handled both place-kicking and punting for the Nittany Lions; as a sophomore he averaged 42 yards per punt and hit 14 of 17 field goal attempts. With the option open to transfer anywhere without sitting out a year, Fera decided to become a Texas Longhorn. Junior Alex Butterworth has punted well in Fera's absence with 38 yards per punt while knocking four inside the 20.

Head Penn State coach Bill O'Brien was the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Bill Belichick's Patriot offense led by MVP Tom Brady. The head coach has yet to win a game as the head coach of the Nittany Lions and will be looking for his first in a packed stadium at home against the Midshipmen. Navy should like its chances with Penn State's questions at running back and an extra week to prepare. If State is able to put together a full four quarters of football it could be an exciting game that comes down to the wire.

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