Team #16 – Penn State Nittany Lions College Football Preview

Penn State Football Preview
Evan Royster of the Penn State Nittany Lions Football Team
Here is team #16 and the 2010 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Preview.  With week 1 college football picks quickly approaching this 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview highlighting the best college football teams for the upcoming 2010 NCAA football season should give you the early edge over the bookmaker.

No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lions

2009 record: 11-2
2009 Bowl Game: 19-17 win over LSU in Capital One Bowl
2009 ATS:  6-6
Returning starters: 13 (8 on offense, 5 on defense)


The Nittany Lions return eight starters on offense, but there will be a tough one to replace. Penn State loses quarterback Daryll Clark, who threw for 3,003 yards and added 211 yards on the ground. He passed for 24 touchdowns and ran for seven more.

Clark completed 60.9 percent of his passes and only threw 10 interceptions. He will most likely be replaced by sophomore Kevin Newsome, who attempted 11 passes last season and completed eight of them. However, he kept the passes short and compiled only 66 yards.

Newsome will have to show that he is able to step in and handle the load as a starter. He has shown that he can do some damage on the ground too, running for 95 yards and two touchdowns in 2009.

While Newsome’s 20 carries are a small sample size compared to Clark’s 84, he almost doubled the starter’s average. Newsome ran for 4.8 yards per carry, while Clark only averaged 2.5 yards per attempt.

The Nittany Lions return top rusher, running back Evan Royster. The senior carried the ball 205 times in 2009 and rand for 1,169 yards. He averaged a strong 5.7 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns.

Penn State will also have their top two receivers back. Derek Moye and Graham Zug combined for 13 touchdown catches and 1,385 yard. It is hard to call one the No. 1 and the other the No. 2 as their numbers were almost identical.


Nose Tackle Ollie Ogbu will once again anchor the line. He will get help from up-and-coming ends Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore. Ogbu had 30 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for a loss last season.

Crawford had 31 tackles, 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for a loss. He also broke up three passes. Latimore had 12 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2009.

Linebacker Josh Hull led the team in tackles last season with 116. He was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of this year’s draft, and the Nittany Lions will have to find a replace­ment for him.

But Hull is not the only linebacker that departs. Penn State loses Navorro Bowman, who had 91 tackles and 14 tackles for a loss, and now plays for the San Francisco 49ers. They also lose Sean Lee who was drafted in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys.

Losing two third rounders and a seventh rounder spells trouble for the linebacking corps, and we should see a less fierce unit at LB in 2010.

The Nittany Lions’ secondary looks good, and is hoping for another strong season by Nick Sukay. The junior had two picks and broke up 11 passes last season. Free safety Drew Astorino hopes to come back strong after having shoulder surgery in the offseason.

Special Teams

Kicker Collin Wagner made all 46 of his extra point attempts, but struggled with his field goals at times. He went 11-for-12 from 1-29 yards, 3-for-5 from 30-39, and 1-for-4 from 40-49 yards. He missed his sole try from 50+ yards. His season long was 47 yards.

The Nittany Lions have to replace punter Jeremy Boone, who averaged 43.3 yards last season and forced seven fair catches. He had three punts blocked in 2009. Sophomore Anthony Fera is ready to step in and take over the punting duties.

Astorino returned punts last season and might have been hindered by his shoulder problems. He averaged 7.9 yards on only seven attempts. Chaz Powell and Stephfon Green both had kick returns. Green returned 16 kicks at a 23.2 average, while Green had four returns and averaged 25.5 yards.

Against the spread

The Nittany Lions went 6-6 against the college football betting odds. They were a bad pick as the home favorite, going 1-6 ATS in that situation. They went 4-0 ATS when favored on the road. Penn State didn’t have any games as the underdog and went 1-0 ATS in a neutral situation.

They went 5-3 against Big Ten teams and 1-3 in non-conference games. Joe Paterno is in his 45th year as the head coach of the Nittany Lions, so we will only look at their ATS record n the last ten years. They are 65-57-1 ATS since 2000.

You can bet on it

Bet the Nittany Lions at home against Kent State on September 18, despite a chance of a bery high spread. Penn State is 2-0 against KSU and has won 19 straight games against non BCS teams. They have averaged a 34 point scoring margin in those victories. The Nittany Lions got a 32-10 win in the last meeting in 2003 and held Kent State to 184 total yards.

Favor the fade

Fade the Nittany Lions at Ohio State on November 13. Penn State hasn’t scored more than 20 points in any of the last eight games against Ohio State and averaged just 12 points per game. They lost last year’s matchup 24-7.

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