2010 Penn State Football

Big Ten football fans

Penn State vs Indiana State Football Preview


The time is now for a man named Robert Bolden. At a school where 10-win seasons are no longer an automatic fact of life, the Penn State Nittany Lions need a dynamic quarterback if they want to reach the top tier of a 12-team Big Ten Conference. Saturday in Happy Valley, a very important tune-up takes place in the life of a young man… and the old legend who coaches him.

Penn State merchandise Before getting into Robert Bolden, one must start with Joe Paterno as his ballclub prepares to host Indiana State in a cupcake-flavored season opener at Beaver Stadium. Paterno remains college football’s most enduring fixture. Now entering his record 46th season as the head coach at PSU, JoePa enters the 2011 season giving no indication that he intends to step aside or even slow down, even with an injury suffered in an August practice. The offseason has even seen stories of him making renewed efforts to get acquainted with social media tools and technology to continue his ability to recruit players to State College. Having led the team for decades as an independent and then into the Big Ten, Paterno now leads the program into divisional conference play in the Big Ten Leaders Division. The Nittany Lions return 14 starters from last season’s team that finished 7-6 and lost to Florida in the Outback Bowl, but should be much improved in 2011. How much, though, is the real question in central Pennsylvania.

Inconsistency at quarterback plagued the Nittany Lions in 2010, but, there’s hope that the situation might be settling. After switching back and forth between the steady Matt McGloin and super-talented Mr. Bolden, there was concern that Bolden no longer wanted to be in State College and would transfer. He then announced his intention to stay. If he really can stick around and dedicate himself to the craft of quarterbacking, he is the more talented player than McGloin and a better fit for Penn State’s offensive attack. He is a viable threat to both run and throw the ball in much the same way Darryl Clark was before him.

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That last piece of insight is important. Over the past decade, Penn State has not been a regular member of the 10-win club. The Nittany Lions have made a BCS bowl on only two occasions in the past 10 years. Both times, PSU had a devastatingly athletic quarterback to run the show and transform a decent offense into a substantially better one. A shifty and agile quarterback has given Penn State the improvisational playmaking it needs to thrive at the highest level. Before Clark took the program to the 2009 Rose Bowl against USC, it was Michael Robinson who quarterbacked the program to the 2006 Orange Bowl against Florida State. The key to this season is Bolden. If he doesn’t work out, the Lions’ offense loses the running threat at quarterback it so desperately needs. In this game against Indiana State of the Football Championship Subdivision, Bolden needs to make good decisions and see the field in a comfortable way. Alabama’s defense comes calling the following weekend, so Bolden needs to learn how to process the game on the fly. An injury-free outing for the team and a mature performance from Bolden will give Joe Paterno a fair amount of encouragement heading into his tussle with the Crimson Tide.

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer


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