Akron at Penn State
Well, here we go again...the Zips big "paycheck game". Still, it's the Lions first game so I figured you guys might want a little insight into your opponent.
The Zips will have a very good offense this year. Chris Jacquemain is the returning QB and he made huge strides from 2007-08, so we all expect him to have a nice year. He's also coached by Walt Harris (needs no introduction) and Shane Montgomery (Ben's old HC at Miami Ohio), as well as HC JD Brookhart, Larry Fitzgerals old OC at Pitt. They return 4 starting OLmen (who played at Happy Valley last year) and they have all their WR's back. Starting RB Alex Allen is dinged, but they have some nice depth at the position, including Louisville transfer Dale Martin and OSU transfer DeVoe Torrance. I expect they will score some points on PSU as they are unpredicatble, talented, and have nothing to lose, as well as being VERY experienced on the offensive coaching staff.
Special teams? I have one word for Akron's kicking game: Suck. We have some nicer return guys, but our punters and kickers are awful year in and year out. We lost to Cincinnati last year due to REPEATED missed chip shots, so if it's somehow a close game, PSU wins easily based on that one facet of the game alone.
Defense is the giant question mark. We have some good players, and it's a fast squad, but they are inexperiencedd, and the 3-3-5 is a finesse system and doesn't match up well against a big, strong physical unit like PSU. We are missing Iowa transfer Ryan Bain who is a nasty, nasty NT and his presence is greatly missed as he is a super disruptive element and takes two players from ANY team to handle him. If the Zips can somehow manage some stops and play fundamentally sound football and minimize mistakes, they'll make this a game. 40-24ish maybe?
They are a good warm-up game for the Lions because the offense will present some challenges, and they are well coached and creative.
Official Steelersfever Arians Nuthugger