Boston College - Penn State Matchup

The Boston College Eagles will take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in the home opener on Saturday night in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles struggled, but beat Ball State 19-11 in the season opener last Thursday. Penn State, on the other hand, had no trouble with Akron. The Lions took the lead on their second play of the game and cruised to a 48-10 victory. Last season, heavily-favored Penn State lost to BC 27-14 in Beaver Stadium. Here are the key players in this week's game and their 2003 statistics (unless otherwise noted):

The Quarterbacks
Paul Peterson -- 57.0% comp, 1,128 yards, 10 TD, 7 INT
Zach Mills -- 54.2% comp, 1,404 yards, 6 TD, 5 INT

Top Rushers
L.V. Whitworth (last week) -- 129 yards, 6.1 ypc, 1 TD
  Jeff Ross (last week) -- 38 yards, 2.5 ypc, 0 TD
Austin Scott -- 436 yards, 4.4 ypc, 5 TD
  Tony Hunt (last week) -- 137 yards, 17.1 ypc, 1 TD

Top Receivers
Grant Adams (WR) -- 46 catches, 720 yards, 5 TD
  Joel Hazard (WR) -- 32 catches, 401 yards, 0 TD
  Dave Kashetta (TE) -- 18 catches, 262 yards, 4 TD
Gerald Smith (WR) -- 15 catches, 198 yards, 1 TD
  Michael Robinson (WR) (last week) -- 3 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD

Top Defenders
  Mattias Kiwanuka (DE) -- 83 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 24 QB hurries
  Will Blackmon (CB) -- 64 tackles, 4 INT, 10 passes broken up
Alan Zematis (CB) -- 71 tackles, 18 passes broken up
  Derek Wake (LB) -- 71 tackles, 4 sacks
  Lavon Chisley (DE) -- 41 tackles, 4 sacks

The Kickers
Ryan Ohliger (last week) -- 0/0 FG, 1/1 PAT
Robbie Gould -- 9/16 FG, 22/24 PAT

The Punters
Johnny Ayers (last week) -- 41.8 yards per kick
Jeremy Kapinos -- 41.9 yards per kick

The Kick Returners
Will Blackmon (last week) -- 52.5 yds per KO return (1 TD), 9.2 yds per punt return
Calvin Lowry -- 18.8 yards per KO ret, 9.2 yards per punt return

Final Analysis

Penn State was clearly more impressive than BC last week against a similar foe from the MAC. However, the Eagles played on the road and Penn State was able to open at home. This week, the Eagles have the home field advantage in what should be a fairly evenly-matched game. Penn State was absolutely awful last season and their statistics show just that. Penn State ranked 86th or worse in the nation in rushing offense, passing offense and run defense. They were third in the nation in pass defense, but that is largely due to the fact that their run defense was so poor that teams didn't need to pass. The Lions do have some excellent players on defense (see the three mentioned above) and will come to town with an experienced quarterback in Senior Zach Mills. Sophomore Austin Scott, a high school phenom, could be ready for a breakout season. Last week, Scott and Sophomore Tony Hunt combined for 253 yards on just 19 carries against Akron. BC, however, will not be that easy to run against. I think that BC will control the line of scrimmage offensively and take advantage of the 44 pound per man advantage the BC offensive line has over Penn State defensive front four. I am confident that BC will win the battle for yardage but not so confident that they can win the battle of mistakes. Last week, the Eagles fumbled several times and committed far too many penalties. They were able to survive those mistakes against Ball State. Penn State will not be so forgiving.

Final Score: Boston College 28 Penn State 24

Penn State Links
Official Site
CBS Sportsline
The Sporting News

Penn State by the Numbers

Penn State is 19-3 alltime against BC, but BC is riding a two game winning streak in the series. The Eagles won 35-32 in 1993 and 27-14 last year.
Joe Paterno has been at Penn State for 39 years and has compiled a career record of 340-109-3.

2003 Statistic BC PSU
Offense - Run 31 90
Offense - Pass 52 86
Defense - Run 30 104
Defense - Pass 74 3