Navy (0-1) at Penn State (0-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 15, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beaver Stadium (106,572) -- University Park, Pennsylvania. Television: ABC, ESPN 2. Home Record: Navy 0-0, PSU 0-1. Away Record: Navy 0-0, PSU 0-1. Neutral Record: Navy 0-1, PSU 0-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, PSU 0-0. Series Record: Penn State leads, 18-17-2.
GAME NOTES: After a pair of back-breaking losses to begin the season, the Penn State Nittany Lions return home to take on the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday afternoon.
Navy opened its season two weeks ago in Dublin, Ireland and lost handily to Notre Dame, 50-10. It was the first game outside the United States since the same two teams met in the Emerald Isle Classic back in 1996. The Midshipmen did not play last week so they come in 0-1.
Penn State dropped its opening game at home against Ohio University, 24-14, after surrendering the final 21 points of the game. Last week, the Nittany Lions were up 16-10 at Virginia in the fourth quarter, but they allowed the Cavaliers to score the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining to fall, 17-16. PSU is clearly feeling the effects of the NCAA sanctions levied against it this summer, and is now 0-2.
These two programs have been very evenly matched over 37 all-time meetings, with Penn State holding the slimmest of advantages, 18-17-2. This bout marks the first meeting since 1974.
The Navy offense piled up a respectable 341 yards against Notre Dame, but many of those yards came once the game was well out of reach.
Trey Miller took advantage of a soft second-half defense from the Fighting Irish, completing 14-of-19 passes for 192 yards, including the team's only touchdown on a 25-yard strike to Shawn Lynch, who was the team's leading receiver with four catches for 87 yards.
The historically-strong Navy running attack could not get rolling in that first game, gaining 149 yards on 40 carries for just a 3.7 yard per carry average. Prentice Christian was the leading rusher with 39 yards on just two totes.
The Midshipmen defense was exposed by Notre Dame, allowing 490 yards of offense, including 293 yards on the ground. Parrish Gaines led the unit with 12 tackles and an interception, while Keegan Wetzel recorded a sack.
The Penn State offense, for the most part, has sputtered so far this season, scoring just 30 total points in its two games.
As one of the few holdovers from last season, Matt McGloin has performed well so far this season, throwing for 457 yards in hitting 55.4 percent of his pass attempts with four touchdowns and an interception. The signal-caller had two touchdown passes last week against Virginia, including one in the fourth quarter to give Penn State a 13-10 lead.
Receiver Allen Robinson has been a bright spot for the Lions offense. After grabbing 10 balls for 89 yards and a score against Virginia, he now has 19 catches for 186 yards on the season to lead the team. Kyle Carter (10 receptions, 107 yards, TD) has also been effective in the pass game.
The PSU rushing attack hasn't gotten anything going so far this year, as Derek Day (26 carries, 83 yards) is the team's leading rusher.
The defense has been respectable to this point, yielding an average of 397 total yards per game and 20.5 ppg, although those numbers have come against a couple of average offensive teams.
Deion Barnes recorded two sacks against Virginia to up his season total to a team-high three. Jordan Hill had an interception, the team's first of the year. Michael Mauti leads the Lions with 21 tackles, and he has also forced a fumble and pounced on one as well.
Without a doubt, both the Midshipmen and the Nittany Lions have gotten off to lousy starts. Penn State has shown some promise early in contests, but has had trouble closing the deal. The struggles are certain to continue, but playing at home against another struggling team will be a perfect time for Bill O'Brien to notch his first win as head coach.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 24, Navy 17
09/12 10:42:59 ET