December 22, 2009
Posted by Steve Jones
The Capital One Bowl is one of the more intriguing match ups this season and belongs on New Year’s Day. Both teams feature strong defenses and know how to win bowl games.
Penn State has been the one Big Ten team that has consistently performed well in bowl games. Joe Paterno and his staff have won 23 bowl games and they know how to get a team ready with extra preparation.
Les Miles has been unbelievable at LSU in bowl games. He has won his four bowl games at LSU by a combined 157-44.
Let’s see what Penn State will be facing New Year’s Day. Jordan Jefferson is 19 years old and he is the youngest starting quarterback at LSU since Y.A. Tittle in 1945. He can make plays with his feet but he also is still learning pocket awareness because he was sacked 35 times this season. Jefferson is an accurate passer and takes good care of the football. While the end of the Ole Miss game was a foul up he showed what he was made of when he came back a week later to lead a game tying scoring drive at the end of regulation against Arkansas.
Jefferson has some excellent targets to throw to. Brandon LaFell was second team all-SEC and caught ten touchdown passes this season. Terrence Toliver has plenty of speed on the outside. Tight end Richard Dickson has broken all of the tight end receiving records at LSU.
The running game has been riddled with injuries. Charles Scott broke his collarbone against Alabama. Chuck the truck might be able to play in the game. Kieland Williams is out with a broken ankle. Richard Murphy hurt a knee early in the season. Steven Ridley has stepped in and played well. Trindon Holliday gives awesome speed to the edge and freshman Russell Sherpard is a great athlete that is part quarterback and part tailback.
Up front the guy to watch is tackle Ciron Black. He was first team all-SEC and he is the foundation of that offensive line.
The top four tacklers on defense are all linebackers. Kelvin Sheppard is the leading tackler but has strong support from Jacob Cutrera, Perry Riley and Harry Coleman.
Chad Jones was an outstanding relief pitcher on the national champion LSU baseball team and he is a terrific safety. He knows how to play center field on the football field. He has three interceptions and can hit. Patrick Peterson on the corner was second team all-SEC.
LSU special teams are outstanding. Josh Jasper missed only three field goals all season and has great range. If LSU gets the ball to the 30-yard line they can feel good about getting points. Junior college transfer Derek Helton is the punter. His average is ok but he kicks the ball very high. Of his 42 punts 24 resulted in fair catches. Ryan Baker has been fabulous on kick coverage with ten special teams tackles.
Trindon Holliday is the NCAA 100 meter champion after running a 10 flat 100 in June. He is the kick return specialist and uses that blazing speed. Against Arkansas he brought a punt back 87 yards for a touchdown. He needs to be contained the way the Nittany Lions contained Kelvin Martin of Michigan State. When Holliday is not back on punts don’t rest. Chad Jones took a punt back 93-yards for a score this season.
It is a great match up in Orlando that everyone is looking for to.
Author: Steve Jones
Bio: Penn State Sports play-by-play announcer. Check for Steve's posts each week.
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