Bowl Season

Big Ten vs. SEC Tampa, Fla.
Raymond James Stadium
Jan. 1
1 p.m.
Ben Jones, who runs was nice enough to answer some questions about the Nittany Lions.

BS: The Nittany Lions finished 7-5, only 4-4 in the Big 10, coming off an 11-2 season. What have been the problems this year and also some positives?

Ben Jones: Simply put Penn State ’s biggest weakness has been it’s youth. During the past two 11-2 seasons Penn State had an amazingly high turnaround between each year losing very few key players. This year on the other hand there are 40+ underclassmen on the roster and several of them have filled in for injury or started in key roles. In a lot of ways though the high level of skill these younger players have will only work to Penn State’s advantage in the future, guys like Silas Redd and Devon Smith have really stepped up their game this year.

BS: The offense had problems scoring. However, it seemed to improve over the second half of the season. Who are the key players on this offense?

Ben Jones: I think this really can be attributed to Penn State growing as a team over the course of the year. The more confident they got the better they played. To their credit however the early season struggles were not always reflective of their offensive outputs. For example, Rob Bolden passed for over 200 yards against Alabama but was unable to find the endzone. While the redzone was an issue in the early going, it wasn’t as if Penn State was facing a 3 and out every time they took the field. If Florida has a list of 4 players they need to worry about though it’s the Evan Royster/Silas Redd combo, Devon Smith for his speed and playmaking ability and Derek Moye. Derek Moye has maybe taken the biggest leap in his game this season turning into a top 5 receiver in the Big Ten. He runs good routes and has great hands. Between a solid running game, and a very solid receiving core, Penn State ’s record is easily not a representation of what it could be.

BS: The defense was solid, giving up 22.6 points a game. What have been the keys to their success and who are some players to watch?

Ben Jones: Penn
State will always have a solid defense, it’s a trademark of the program. However this season Penn State hasn’t been blessed with one house hold name they’re used to having. Instead the defense has been a patched together unit that has suffered the loss of 11 different players over the course of the season. In regards to the bowl game, Michael Mauti ought to be fully healthy after missing the second half of the Ohio State game. His ability at linebacker could grow into another great at Linebacker U. Other than that it’s usually a different player that steps up every game. Two guys to watch though would be D'anton Lynn at corner and Nate Stupar at linebacker.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

Ben Jones: Silas Redd. While this wouldn’t be a breakout performance in regards to knowing he can ball, it would be great to see him give fans a preview of what it’ll be like as Redd being the feature back next year. If Redd could really carry for some solid yards along with Royster I think it would make a lot of Penn State fans happy.

Thanks a lot to Ben Jones. Check him out at

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