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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 96 Lions love Hoosier State A fter back-to-back 7-6 sea- sons, James Franklin opted to change it up. And for Penn State, those changes, some drastic, could play a big role in Franklin's future as coach. A new offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead, is moving toward a hurry-up spread offense with a dual-threat-type quarterback. A new defensive coordinator, Brent Pry, is faced with replacing three start- ers on the line (who combined for 26 sacks). He prefers to rely on the front to generate pressure instead of blitzing. So it's possible the Nittany Lions could need to switch gears and lean more on their transformed offense to rise instead of on a defense that has ranked among the nation's "leaders" in yards allowed the last several years. "The defense is going to take a step back — that much is almost guaran- teed," said Nate Bauer, who covers Penn State for BlueWhiteIllustrated. com. "And, really, it's not even neces- sarily that group's fault, because there is plenty of talent that remains among the unit. Unlike the past few years, the defense won't be relied upon to hold op- ponents to fewer than 17 points, which at times has been about the most that could be expected from Penn State's of- fense. With an up-tempo offense, howev- er, comes the reality that opponents are going to have more opportunities to put points on the board themselves." Problem is, there could be significant issues preventing the offense from be- ing better than its No. 11 scoring, No. 12 rushing and No. 13 total offense rank- ings in conference play last season. Cas- es in point, the line has been atrocious and Penn State is replacing a multi-year starting quarterback with either a soph- 2015 Results (7-6) 9/5 at Temple . . . . . . . . . . L, 10-27 9/12 BUFFALO . . . . . . . . . . W, 27-14 9/19 RUTGERS . . . . . . . . . . . W, 28-3 9/26 SAN DIEGO STATE . . . W, 37-21 10/3 ARMY . . . . . . . . . . . . . W, 20-14 10/10 INDIANA . . . . . . . . . . . . W, 29-7 10/17 at Ohio State . . . . . . . L, 10-38 10/24 at Maryland . . . . . . . . W, 31-30 10/31 ILLINOIS . . . . . . . . . . . W, 39-0 11/7 at Northwestern . . . . . L, 21-23 11/21 MICHIGAN . . . . . . . . . L, 16-28 11/28 at Michigan State . . . . L, 16-55 1/2 GEORGIA . . . . . . . . . . L, 17-24 Penn State Nittany Lions OCT. 29 ROSS-ADE STADIUM TIME: TBA • TV: TBA COACH: JAMES FRANKLIN RECORD AT PENN STATE: 14-12 (TWO SEASONS) RECORD VS. PURDUE: FIRST MEETING 2016 Schedule 9/3 KENT STATE 9/10 at Pittsburgh 9/17 TEMPLE 9/24 at Michigan 10/1 MINNESOTA 10/8 MARYLAND 10/22 OHIO STATE 10/29 at Purdue 11/5 IOWA 11/12 at Indiana 11/19 at Rutgers 11/26 MICHIGAN STATE G O L D A N D B L AC K 'S E A R LY L I N E : P E N N S TAT E - 5 Purdue is hoping the luck changes Oct. 29, because since joining the Big Ten in 1993, Penn State's two favorite road venues have resided in the Hoosier State: For the fifth consecutive season, Penn State and Ohio State will meet under the lights on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The teams will square off in the annual Penn State White Out game at Beaver Stadium at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. It is the 17th straight season the Lions have played a game under the lights. 2016 Opponent Preview MEMORIAL STADIUM: Penn State 7 wins, Indiana 1 ROSS-ADE STADIUM: Penn State 6 wins, Purdue 1 times last year, he was put into obvious throwing situations. If they are able to run for around 200 yards per game, they have a chance to be one of the best of- fenses in the Big Ten. They return every key piece from their offense a year ago. The big question will be the offensive line, as they will be very young, but they have a lot of promise." The defense will have to hope that's the case for its front four, especially on the interior, which was essentially wiped out after two players bolted early for the NFL, another transferred and a fourth quit. "They have some quality young bod- ies they will be working in, but they real- ly can't afford injuries," Callahan said. "I also question where they will get a con- sistent pass rush at this point. They are going to need the back seven to really step up and help the young and inexpe- rienced front four." If it does and the defense is able to boost its play even a bit, the offense could be good enough to help Nebraska compete for the Big Ten West title. Even if the schedule seems to line up unfa- vorably: The Cornhuskers have Oregon at home in Week 3 and play their con- ference road games at Northwestern, In- diana, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa. "To win the West this year, it all has to start and end with winning on the road," Callahan said. "Nebraska will be favorites in all four Big Ten home games — Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota and Maryland. I think if they run the table at home and go 3-2 on the road, they can win the division. "I think top-end, this is a 10-win team, but the realistic mark right now is eight or nine wins." —Stacy Clardie

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