Penn State-Notre Dame Preview
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - We are about 15 minutes from kickoff in Happy Valley and there is a truly electric atmosphere inside and outside of Beaver Stadium. A raucous crowd of well over 100,000 fans is expected and legions of Penn State fans wearing white for the "white out" of Beaver Stadium have already begun to take their seats and cheer. The hostile atmosphere does not bode well for Notre Dame's true freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who is making his first career start. The venue couldn't be much tougher for Clausen and he will also have to deal with Dan Connor, Justin King and a tough Penn State defense.
Clausen, one of the nation's top recruits, played sparingly in Notre Dame's 33-3 opening week loss to Georgia Tech. He went 4-for-6 for 34 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Quarterback Evan Sharpley started that game.
Clausen's counterpart is Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli who last year was in a similar position to Clausen when he made his first road start in front of Touchdown Jesus in South Bend and Penn State fell to Notre Dame 41-17. Morelli had a dismal game against the Irish that day but now the senior is expected to make tremendous strides and lead a talented Penn State offense the entire year. Penn State is coming off a dominating 59-0 victory over Florida International last week and they look to be the heavy favorites here. The Nittany Lion defense should shut down Clausen and company and Morelli should be able to display on national television that he has come a long way from last year and can beat Notre Dame.
State College is buzzing because of this game and excitement hasn't been this high in Happy Valley since Penn State defeated Ohio State in 2005. The town is packed, bars are standing-room-only, traffic in the town is like being in a city and students camped out for days outside of Beaver Stadium in order to get a good seat. And why not? Today's matchup pits two of college football's finest programs against each other with two of college football's best coaches in Joe Paterno and Charlie Weis and it will be played in one of college football's greatest venues. It's college football at its finest, so enjoy the action.