After asking begging the Nittany Lions to convince me before the slaughter of Eastern Illinois (as it damned well should have been, by the way!), I thought it would be important to highlights some important factors going into the Minnesota game.
1) Minnesota are no Illinois or Eastern Illinois
The Gophers are so much better than that. Wideout Eric Decker's going to cause a lo of teams problems this year - including PSU's secondary, which has been partially non-existent this year. The win at Syracuse will probably be looked back as a good one bearing in mind the improvement of the Orange, and the loss to Cal and Wisconsin aren't the worst losses a team could have during the year.
2) But they are no Florida....or Iowa
Minnesota's defence has been weird, giving up at least 20 points in every battle the Gophers have had except for the game against Air Force. The offense hasn't been a lot better. Close down Decker and get to quarterback Adam Weber, and Penn State might win this by 20. But screw it up, and PSU fans face yet another miserable day at Beaver Stadium. Oh, and Minnesota's defence is ranked only 77th in the Nation. Penn State should score points - heard that one before, haven't we?
3) The offensive line needs to continue to improve
We definitely saw improvement on the O-Line against Illinois and EI. We know that both teams aren't exactly powerhouses (giggle!), but at least it's gelling. If they gel again, we can start getting some confidence again.
4) And the wide receivers need to continue...
Going up and getting those balls. This wide receiving corps is good - and it's going to improve all season long. Despite what some of the players may say, it's still not a patch on the 2005-2008 year, but Moye, Powell et al. are pretty damed good. And they are tall, too. Which should be nice against a team that ranks 62nd in passing defence.
5) And another thing...
Let's get through the game without an injury, shall we? Seriously? We'd love that! I'm fed up of hearing about injured Lions on the sideline, with a variety of broken paws. We want you back, Lion Lee and Lion Odrick. Meanwhile, Lion Crawford's providing the roar.... of a British Nittany Lion!
Here's highlights of the 2005 game: