Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno may be coaching one of the youngest teams in his career, but after last week’s 48-10 pummeling of Akron, Tom O’Brien and the Boston College Eagles may have their hands full this Saturday night as the Nittany Lions look to avenge their 27-14 loss to B.C. one year ago.
“I definitely think for the people that are still here and play it shows that… when we go out there and do our thing, when we play how we can play, no one can stop us,” senior defensive tackle Tim Bulman said on Wednesday.
“We still have to respect them and definitely know what they’re capable of. But in the same respect we don’t have to fear them.”
As tri-captain of this year’s squad, Bulman is an essential anchor on the defensive line. In fact, he told reporters before last week’s 19-11 victory over Ball State that this year’s defense may be the best yet.
The Nittany Lion offense will certainly be a big test over the Cardinals of Ball State— especially if Penn State’s running game steps up like it did on Saturday.
PSU had two tail backs carry the ball for over 100 yards, including sophomore Tony Hunt who opened the Penn State offensive drive for a 77-yard touchdown.
“They’ll run the ball as long as they can run the ball,” said Bulman. “I don’t think they really like to pass.”
“We have the ability on the line… we match-up perfectly.”
While Hunt will be looking to step up the ground game for the blue and white, look for the Eagles to keep pressure on senior quarterback Zach Mills, who completed 9 of 11 passes last Saturday, for 108 total yards and one touchdown.
Saturday night’s matchup will be broadcasted nationally to almost half of the nation, and will be the second of three night games scheduled for the Eagles this season.
Is the pressure mounting for the Eagles playing on the national stage?
“I don’t think there’s any pressure, really,” says senior tight-end Dave Kashetta. “It’s an exciting feeling for our program, for our school, and for us as a team. It’s a great stage, and an exciting stage, for everyone involved.”
While the pressure may not be felt by Kashetta, there will surely be eyes on sophomore running back Jeff Ross. The Milton native ran for a disappointing 38 yards, and saw his performance overshadowed by the play of redshirt freshman L.V. Whitworth. Unfortunately for BC fans, Whitworth will be sidelined for another month with a knee injury. Expect classmate Andre Callender to push Ross for playing time.
The Eagles will likely be missing the service of junior offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood. The 6’8, 330 pound sophomore James Marten should move on the line to fill the void, as his 6’8, 303 pound classmate Shadu Moore will likely get his first start at left guard.
With some Eagle key injuries and Joe Paterno’s squad coming off of a successful home opener last weekend, the Eagles have a lot to prove in primetime as the road to the BCS continues under the lights of Alumni.