TBA, Nov.19 TV: TBA Ohio Stadium (102,329)

Coach: Joe Paterno, 46th season (401-135-3 at school and overall)

Last year: 7-6, 4-4 Big Ten (tie, fourth); lost to Florida 37-24 in Outback Bowl

Returning stars

Derek Moye had 53 catches for 885 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. Safety Drew Astorino had 70 tackles and broke up five passes.

Newcomers to watch

It's never safe to predict how many freshmen Paterno will play, or how soon. Or even take the redshirt off. One of those redshirted last year, Kyle Baublitz, could start to see time in the defensive line rotation.

Keys to the offense

The Nittany Lions need consistent play from their quarterback, whether it's Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin, because the rest of the cast looks deep and solid, if not spectacular. Silas Redd rushed for 437 yards and averaged 5.7 per carry as Evan Royster's freshman backup last year, and the depth behind him got a boost last week when Paterno reinstated senior Stephfon Green, whom he had booted from the team before camp started.

Keys to the defense

If its front can stand up to the run and pressure offenses more than it did a year ago - its 17 sacks were the fewest in Tom Bradley's 11 years as defensive coordinator - the defense could be dominant. The linebackers, led by Michael Mauti, are said to be the best group Penn State has had in several years, and every starter returns to a deep secondary.

Special teams standouts

Penn State could win a game or two with its return game. Chaz Powell averaged 24 yards per kickoff return and had a 100-yarder for a touchdown. Devon Smith, who sent Paterno to the hospital when he ran into him during preseason camp, averaged 12.9 yards on 12 punt returns. Punter Anthony Fera averaged 41.4 yards with just one touchback, and he also could be the team's kicker.

Question marks

"Quarterback?" Paterno said at the team's preseason media day. "I think we'll be better. Whether we're going to be good enough, I don't know." That's the biggest question mark. Another is that even though the Nittany Lions return most of their regulars from last season, they were 7-6 overall and .500 in the Big Ten. So is that a good thing or bad thing?


Paterno said at the start of camp that he didn't coach very well and his team didn't play very well last season, and he said the team wasn't tough enough because he wasn't demanding enough. Penn State won fewer than nine games for the first time since 2004 and suffered four losses by 20 points or more for the first time since 1987. So Paterno ran a tougher camp this year. Does a tougher team mean a better one? We'll see.