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Notre Dame- Penn State Will Get Good Two Way Action!
Last week leading up to the opening game between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, I thought that with all the praise being heaped on Charlie Weiss and his troops, they might as well hand him the BCS Championship trophy. I mean, the way things were going Weiss and his QB Quinn may have been elected President and Vice President of the United States had they run for office.
As is usually the case, the hype was unwarranted as the sports betting action was on Georgia Tech and the under, as Notre Dame barely escaped Georgia with a 14-10 victory. Meanwhile in Happy Valley, Joe País latest squad hosted Akron and their new quarterback shone.
Junior QB Anthony Morelli made his first collegiate start last week against Akron and it couldnít have gone better for the young signal-caller. Morelli, who took over for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Michael Robinson, completed his first pass of the game for a 42-yard touchdown.
Morelli completed 50 percent of his passes in the afternoon, for 206 yards, with three TDs and no interceptions. Fellow sophomore Derrick Williams is regarded as one of the nationís dangerous threats with the ball and returned from a 2005 injury- plagued season by catching three balls, including a TD.
In all, Williams had 116 all-purpose yards and certainly needs to be accounted for by any defense facing the Nittany Lions. Fellow wideout Jordan Norwood led all receivers with a career-high seven receptions for 61 yards and a score.
The Penn State defense was awesome last year, but only welcomed back 4 starters from that squad. Yet they acquitted themselves nicely against the Zips. They had 5 sacks and created 3 turnovers against a very talented MAC squad.
On the other hand, Notre Dame was really up against it with all the publicity and facing a very talented Georgia Tech team. Against the Yellow Jackets, Quinn threw for 246 yards and no TDs, but was responsible for the teamís first score with a five-yard TD scamper late in the first half to start the Irish on the way to victory.
Wideout Rhema McKnight is a welcome addition to the receiving corps after missing most of last year due to injury. He paid immediate dividends against Tech hauling in five balls for 108 yards.
All-American Jeff Samardzija caught six balls for 74 yards and teams with McKnight to give the Irish a pair of dangerous targets downfield. The passing attack will certainly open up if tailback Darius Walker continues to run as hard as he did against the Yellow Jackets. Walker toted the ball 22 times for 99 yards and one TD against a stout GT defense.
As a whole, the defense relinquished just 259 yards of total offense and although the team yielded 119 yards on the ground, a lot of that was from QB Reggie Ball, who abandoned the pocket often in leading his team in rushing (55 yards).
Now that the football betting public has been burned by the Fighting Irish, the linemakers at my favorite sportsbook have hung up a very attractive line of ND -8. Penn State and their legendary coach are huge favorites across the country and getting a touchdown plus will have many a gambler jumping on the dog.
On the other hand, ND is at home and they played a far tougher team in GT. That sort of competition will allow them to pour if on the Nittany Lions this weekend.
I love the home side!
About the Author: Bob is an experienced sports writer and handicapper, who has written for the sports industry for over 10 years. His years of writing for Sports Scene, sports consulting on 33 Made for Television and Major Motion Pictures and his work as an instructor at Pro Teach Baseball Academy, have made Bob a trusted and respected source in the sports world.