Penn State agenda box
Penn State vs. Syracuse
When: Tomorrow, 3:30 pm
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Radio: WNTP (990-AM),
3 things to watch:
1. How Allen Robinson is defended.
The 2012 Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year will garner a lot of attention in the passing game this season. It will be interesting to see whether Syracuse uses a double team or other schemes to try to slow the redshirt sophomore. And if Robinson is taken away, who else will get the ball thrown their way?
2. How confident (or not) Bill O'Brien is in Sam Ficken.
Ficken became a household name in a bad way last season when he missed four field goals and an extra point in a one-point loss to Virginia. He improved as the season progressed and hit a game-winning field goal in Penn State's season finale against Wisconsin. O'Brien likes going for it on fourth down, and did so a lot last year in situations where other coaches may opt for a field goal. If Penn State finds itself in a fourth-and-medium situation in or near the red zone tomorrow, O'Brien will have a choice to make.
3. The quarterbacks, of course
It's impossible to watch a football game without taking note of the quarterback, but Tyler Ferguson and Christian Hackenberg will be under a microscope when both take the field for the first time in a
Division I game. O'Brien has not named a starter and said both players will take snaps. It will be more noteworthy to see what signal-caller the coach has in the game in the third and fourth quarters, especially if it's a close contest.
Prediction: Whether it'sFerguson or Hackenberg, Penn State has enough offensive talent to get the ball to the end zone three times. Syracuse also has a question to answer at quarterback, and the team may go through some growing pains with a new head coach in Scott Shafer.
Penn State 24, Syracuse 13.