[bumped from the diaries... --OPS]
Look at how closely these two defenses match up, statistically. PSU is slightly better, but the difference is numerical noise.
If it turns into another hockey game (i.e., 6-4), which is possible because they don't have P.J. Hill or James Hardy, we'll need to punt better than our 33.1 net season average.
So, if you're PSU, you go after Iowa by walking a safety into the box EVERY TIME Iowa lines up in the I, and you rush a minimum of 5 IF NOT 6 EVERY TIME your OT key shows pass.
We're gonna have to slow down their pass rush by getting the ball outside to the edge.
It's sad, but it may be easier for Jake to play on the road: no booing. Think about it. It's a sad commentary, and not on Jake.
On offense, they're going see if Adam can provide deep support to Fletcher. He struggled with his reads (got hung up in the middle) and angles, which is normal if you haven't played free safety in years and you're supposed to figure it out at game speed and shut down Hardy, day one. Ditto Greenwood, if he plays. I'm sure they'll respect our front seven but try to beat our brains out anyway between the hash marks.
The PSU unfaithful are calling for Morelli's head, and Morelli has pulled a few Psycho-Artist-esque tantrums already, and been careless with the football. At home it's going to be ugly if he gets off to a poor start.
It would be great if:
a) we can give Jake a few passing calls that are hard-coded: simple swings, outs and slants that don't involve audibles, whole-field reads and check-downs; Sonny Jurgenson, who led the NFL in passing at age 40 thinks the game has gotten too cute with too many audibles. Of course, he called his own plays and didn't confront multi-variate, attacking defenses as we do today.
b) we borrow from IU and Sears and use our milk carton lost child fullback;
c) we split AY and DS and get DS the ball outside the DE (long laterals)
d) Run-DJK touches the ball 5 times on offense. Does anyone think that he's NOT going to score if he touches the ball 5 times?
e) AY and DS collectively run the ball 35 times. Does anyone think we're not going to average 4.0 if we run it 35 times? If we force them to defend the edges, we are going to run for double their season rush defense average. AY has never run as strong as he is now, and DS has earned himself a signature, career game. The Illini ran for 200+.
I guess I think we'll have a breakout game offensively sometime this year. (cf. Syracuse-Louisville.) Hope it's Saturday. If not, well, good luck and godspeed, Norm and Ryan. PSU will be tight and they will have a strange dread such as we experience against Northwestern. We've won five in a row and they haven't beaten us in Happy Hour Valley since our quarterback was seven years old (1994). Their fans will be raining down their displeasure if we start strong.
What's in my head is that our QB needs just a little bit of help from the coaches, and a big play or two from Run-DJK, a push (no errors, but nothing spectacular) from special teams, and ... and ... Iowa, 17-13.
Speaking of Happy Hour, I heard from a PSU fan that Damon's is a good place for a beer and a sandwich, pre-game.