Sunday, December 6, 2009
Capital One Bowl
Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)
Jan. 1, 1 p.m., (ABC)
Penn State's BCS bubble burst Sunday, but the Nittany Lions still have an excellent chance to notch a signature victory on New Year's Day.
Two of college football's most storied programs meet for just the second time at the Capital One Bowl. Penn State beat LSU in the 1974 Orange Bowl, which capped head coach Joe Paterno's eighth season at the helm. Paterno boasts 23 bowl victories, an NCAA record, and he aims for his 14th season of 11 or more wins against the Tigers.
Penn State's defense has been its calling card all season, as the Lions rank in the top eight nationally in yards allowed (277.1 ypg), points allowed (11.8), tackles for loss (8.25 per game) and sacks (2.9 per game). You can bet Big Ten defensive player of the year Jared Odrick and star linebackers Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee will be geared up to face an LSU offense that has endured its struggles this fall and will be without standout running back Charles Scott (fractured collarbone).
The Lions' Spread HD offense was both dominant at times this fall and dormant against elite defenses in both Ohio State and Iowa. LSU's defense provides another very tough test for Daryll Clark, Evan Royster and, most importantly, an offensive line that has taken some time to jell.
Penn State makes its fifth appearance in the Capital One/Citrus Bowl and its first since 2002. The Lions are 1-3 in the Orlando game.