Believe it or not, Coastal Carolina might pose more of a threat than last year's opener against Florida International. Despite their playing in the Football Championship Subdivision, the Chanticleers have some formidable talent and return 17 starters. But there were a few key losses. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson graduated and was taken in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. And freshman quarterback Jamie Childers is out until the midseason after a bout with viral meningitis. William Richardson, the younger brother of former Lions quarterback Wally Richardson, will split duties under center with Zach MacDowell. Coastal Carolina runs a spread offense, but that's not much of an anomaly these days.
With all that being said, in the name of Appalachian State there's no way Penn State loses its opener. With so many returning regulars along both lines, the Lions will wear down a FCS team like Coastal Carolina even if it stays within striking distance through the first half. Expect to see lots of the run game as quarterback Daryll Clark is eased into the position. Plus, Penn State hardly ever digs into the playbook for an otherwise meaningless opener.
Final score: Penn State 45, Coastal Carolina 10
I'm heading up to State College now, but will have another post with my thoughts on the quarterback drama as soon as I'm in Happy Valley.