Opponent Q&A with For The Glory Of Old State
Welcome to the official San Diego Sports Domination and For The Glory Of Old State Q&A. I hope this will help all of our Aztec Fans learn more about this weekend’s opponents. Please feel free to answer the poll question at the bottom of the article. For those who are attending the game on Saturday please check out the end of our interview for suggestions on food, bars and the easiest way to get to the Stadium.
SDSU vs. Penn State GAME PREVIEW (LINK)
1) Who is the best player on the Penn State Offense?
It may sound crazy because he is a true freshman and because Penn State has a quarterback in Christian Hackenberg with the potential to be the first quarterback drafted in the spring, but I would say running back Saquon Barkley. He is coming off of back-to-back 100 yard games, and ranks 6th in the FBS averaging 9.1 yards per carry. Barkley has an incredible mixture of speed, vision, strength, burst, and the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. Barkley is a player that can run over or around defenders, and he does both with ease. He is showing why he was one of the 10 best running back recruits in the country last year, and in my opinion has already ascended to being the Nittany Lions best offensive player.
2) Who is the best player on the Penn State Defense?
This one is tough because Penn State’s defense is loaded with talent, but I’d say defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. Zettel will most likely be a first round pick in the NFL Draft this year and is one of the best defensive tackles in the country. So far this season Zettel has not racked up the stats some of his fellow defensive linemen such as Carl Nassib (5 sacks) and Austin Johnson (2.5 sacks), but a big reason is Zettel is getting double or even triple teamed every play. Zettel is eating up blockers and in turn helping to free up the rest of the defensive linemen and the linebackers to make plays. He is a fun player to watch.
3) what under the radar player should Aztec fans watch on Penn State’s Offense?
Wide receiver Saeed Blacknall is an under the radar player to watch. Blacknall has yet to catch a pass this season, but as a true freshman last year he flashed glimpses of brilliancy and James Franklin said he looks for his role to expand in the passing game stater Saturday. I would not be surprised to see the 6 foot 3, 215 pound sophomore be used to try and stretch the field Saturday and to be used in the red zone.
4) what under the radar player should Aztec fans watch on Penn State’s Defense?
Keep an eye on redshirt freshman defensive end Torrence Brown. Through three games Brown has a sack and a fumble recovery in limited action, but he has seen his play time increase in each game. The coaching staff raved about Brown’s work on the practice squad last year and we are starting see why. He has been a very disruptive player in limited action so far this season.
5) do you think that Penn State will stack the box in order to shut down the Aztec run game?
I am going to say no simply because Penn State’s defensive line is so good. Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson, Carl Nassib, Garrett Sickels, Torrence Brown, Antoine White, and Parker Cothren have all had very strong seasons so far and have completely controlled the line of scrimmage the past two weeks. Their ability to eat up blockers have been freeing up linebacker Brandon Bell, Troy Reeder, and Jason Cabinda to make tackles. This has allowed safeties Jordan Lucas and Marcus Allen, both of whom are strong in run support when needed, to play back and concentrate on coverage more. If SDSU begins to run the ball with success I could see Lucas stepping up into the box, but I do not expect defensive coordinator Bob Shoop to do that to start the game.
6) what will be the outcome for the game?
I’m going with a 28-13 Nittany Lion victory. Penn State is coming off an emotional high of a blowout victory under the lights against Rutgers in the conference opener and the offense still has a lot of question marks surrounding it. Due to these factors, I expect SDSU to give the Nittany Lions all they can handled for two and a half to three quarters. In the end though, I think the Nittany Lions escape with a two score victory.
7) Anything that you think our readers should know? Any tips for getting around the the Penn State stadium or any tips you have for our large fan base making the trip up for the game.
If you get the chance go to the creamery, it’s the best ice cream I have ever eaten in my entire life. For the most part parking will be found in grass lots outside the stadium, so prep for mud if it rains (right now there is no rain in the forecast). The upper deck seats are not good for anyone with a fear of heights as it seems as if you are looking straight down at the field at nearly a 90 degree angle, and it tends to feel like people are right on top of you but that is to be expected when you have around 100,000 people crammed into a football stadium. Even for a 3:30pm kick against a non-conference opponent, it should still be a great atmosphere on Saturday so enjoy!
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