The Penn State Nittany Lions earned their first victory of the season with ease on Saturday, destroying the Navy Midshipmen, 34-7, at Beaver Stadium. It was head coach Bill O'Brien's first win as head coach of Penn State.
Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin was the star of the day, completing 13 of 21 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson caught five of those McGloin tosses for 136 yards and three touchdowns.
Statistically, Navy outgained Penn State 371 to 341 in total yardage, and also won the time of possession battle, but the advantage on the stat sheet meant very little on the field, as the Midshipmen did not even score until five minutes into the fourth quarter.
Penn State, now 1-2 on the season, will host the Temple Owls next weekend in Happy Valley. Navy, still winless on the year, will welcome the Virginia Military Institute to Annapolis next Saturday.
The Penn State Nittany Lions, looking for their first win of the season, have dominated the Navy Midshipmen in the first half and lead 20-0 after two quarters of play.
Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin has been the star of the first half, completing 11 of 16 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Allen Robinson has caught four balls for 111 of those yards and two of the touchdowns. Curtis Dukes has led the Penn State rushing attack, gaining 37 yards on seven carries.
Penn State has held Navy to just 130 total yards in the first half, 115 of which have come on the ground via the well-known Midshipmen option offense. The Nittany Lions, on the other hand, have 262 total yards of offense at halftime.
Penn State began the year with losses to Ohio and Virginia, but enter the second half of this game in great position to give head coach Bill O'Brien his first win at the school.
It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Penn St. Nittany Lions. But after squandering a lead to the Ohio Bobcats in their opener and missing four field goals in a road loss to the Virginia Cavaliers, head coach Bill O'Brien will look to get his team back on track against a Navy Midshipmen squad that looks undermanned.
Penn State will need a concerted defensive effort to stop Navy's famed option offense. While the Nittany Lions' front seven was touted as strong headed into the season before yielding 175 rushing yards to Ohio, but bounced back with a stout effort against Virginia, allowing just 1.3 yards per rush.
On the other side of the ball, Penn State will likely need continued stellar play from emerging wide receiver Allen Robinson, who has made 19 catches for 186 yards with a touchdown this season.
Navy opened its season by getting blown out by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Dublin to open the season. After an idle Week 2, the Midshipmen figure to be eager to get back out on the field and compete. If they catch Penn State sleeping, they could steal a victory.
As an Independent school, Navy, has not had an incredibly successful football program as of late.
But despite their struggles, they no doubt have the respect and attention of Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien.
Taking time out of his preparation for the Nittany Lions' game on Saturday against the Midshipmen, O'Brien spoke to the media about his thoughts on the culture of the Naval Academy:
I just think the Naval Academy is the type of place that really doesn't care who they're going to play. That's the mentality of the Naval Academy coaches and players. They're going to play as many good opponents as they can, and obviously they have a very unique and tough scheme on offense.
They have a unique scheme on defense, and they've got a bunch of kids that play extremely hard. You're going to have to fight tooth and nail to win the football game.
At 0-2 on the season, O'Brien is correct. Nothing should be taken for granted as Penn State takes the field on Saturday afternoon.
Of course it's difficult. They played Notre Dame and then had a week off. They could watch our Ohio game and get some rest and maybe get some guys healed up and ready to go. And then they had this week and watched us play Virginia.
So they have two weeks on us. They have a week on us. So we have to have a sense of urgency on our team of understanding that and make sure we have a real good practice week and are ready to go. Can't do anything about it. That's the schedule. That's the way it goes.
You can't not agree entirely with O'Brien here. Navy has a slight edge to get healthy and watch a bit more film on just one team over the course of two weeks. But at the same time, that's life.
Sometimes you get to coach Tom Brady, other times you get to coach a college football program that's been completely handcuffed with NCAA sanctions for at least the next four years. You roll with the punches and you do your best.
Hopefully O'Brien and his team are diligent in their own preperation to ensure whatever edge the Midshipmen think they may have is erased once the ball is kicked.