College Football: Penn State-Coastal Carolina preview
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. ó If only coaches won points for honesty; that might help the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers get on the scoreboard when they serve as the season-opening opponent for No. 22 Penn State.
And, to top it off, the Championship Subdivision school could go down Saturday as a footnote on Joe Paterno’s lengthy resume since the Hall of Fame coach is one shy of the 373 victories owned by Florida State’s Bobby Bowden for the most among major college coaches.
“I tell my buddies who play golf, it’s like you’re going out to play (PGA golfers Phil) Mickelson or Tiger Woods head-to-head. ‘How would you do without a handicap,”‘ Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett said. “There’s no handicap involved with this.”
Coastal Carolina has had some success in its brief, six-year history of playing football, winning the Big South from 2004 to 2006. They were 5-6 last season. Penn State will be the program’s first Bowl Subdivision opponent.
Knowing his squad is overmatched, the easygoing Bennett will start by aiming for small victories on Saturday, like getting key first downs, and making the Nittany Lions punt.
“You want to go up there, do well, win some battles,” Bennett said. “You don’t want to go up there and just have them run roughshod on you. That’s not good. That wouldn’t be good.”
Unfortunately for Bennett, run defense is one of several areas in which Coastal Carolina appears to be outclassed.
The Chanticleers return eight starters from a 2007 defense that allowed 219 yards per game on the ground. Penn State has four veterans returning on its offensive line.