Sep 30, 2011, 9:07 PM EDT
The Nittany Lions open up Big Ten play on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers with eyes now focused on a return trip to the state in December for the inaugural Big Ten championship game.
In order to get that far Penn State will have to answer a number of questions over the course of the next nine weeks, and some of the same questions we all had heading in to the first game of the season remain a painful constant.
Who should be the quarterback?
There will be no change in philosophy it seems from the coaching staff (Joe Paterno) as Penn State enters the fifth game of the season. After earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance last weekend against Eastern Michigan, Matt McGloin is expected to split playing time once again with Rob Bolden. Questions about how long the team can survive using two quarterbacks have become very public and Paterno’s stance on the situation continues to perplex the fans, and media.
Regardless of what happens with the passing game for Penn State, the offense should look to establish the running game this weekend. Silas Redd is due for a big day on the ground after being limited in the opener, suffocated against Alabama, slowed down by Temple and once again limited against Eastern Michigan (12 carries for 48 yards last week). With Brandon Beachum not available and Stephfon Green’s return to the offense still a question mark, Redd will have to be given the ball more against Indiana. This should also be a good opportunity for the offensive line to get on the same page in run and pass blocking.
For the defense, the post-Michael Mauti portion of the season is officially underway. Mauti suffered a torn ACL in his left knee last week and is lost for the season. Penn State’s best linebacker, Mauti’s impact will be lost on the field for his athleticism and skill as much as his leadership as a team leader. Stepping in will be Nathan Stupar, a fifth year senior. To fill the void in leadership, Paterno is looking to defensive back Drew Astorino and defensive tackle Devon Still, who is emerging as one of the top defensive tackles in the sport. Look for him to find his way in Indiana’s backfield all game long causing trouble.
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