December 27, 2019

The Cotton Bowl post

It's been a busy holiday season that's cut into any kind of posting around LBU. But I'm not going to leave this season hanging. Here's my Cotton Bowl post.

With KJ Hamler battling a fever and sinus infection, Penn State might have a play or two missing from the game. Whether it be Hamler making a mistake, or the staff just leaving some things out of the gameplan. Not sure. He still has a full day's rest, which isn't insignificant to his recovery time.

Hearing Noah Cain ready to rumble is encouraging, and with all four running backs seemingly hungry, I wouldn't doubt if Penn State has a very run-heavy gameplan ahead. I don't know what kind of game Tyler Bowen will call as the interim OC. But the pieces are in place for a downhill offense that hits some big passes to Pat Freiermuth.

Speaking of the offense--actually, wait, let's touch on the defense first. It'll be Yetur Gross-Matos's last game. He's surely hungry to go out with a big game, and I think he can do it. This Memphis team isn't a pushover, but I have more confidence in the Penn State defense looking to make a statement. Micah Parsons promised as much. Would you want to doubt him?

Anyway, offense. Penn State finally hired a new offensive coordinator. As Franklin has proven time and again, he pulled in another great hire in Kirk Ciarrocca from Minnesota. His offense carved up Penn State with a beautiful gameplan. But the pessimist--i.e. PSU fan from the early 2000s--in me wondered if carving up the Penn State defense was really as impressive as we'd like it to sound. Look, PSU had a great defense. But how many offenses have done to the Nittany Lions what Minnesota did? More than a few, right? Still, getting Ciarrocca is a big move to maintain the consistency Penn State has enjoyed since 2016. He's good at developing quarterbacks, and knows how to utilize pass game with big receivers, all the while grinding down opponents with the run game.

I'm excited. You should be excited. Let's go State.

The pick: Penn State 34, Memphis 18


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