The Penn State Nittany Lions lost their opening game of the season, 24-14, to the Ohio Bobcats, a disappointing start to the head coaching career of Bill O'Brien, trying to replace the late Joe Paterno.
Penn State was leading 14-3 at halftime thanks to two Matt McGloin passing touchdowns — one to Bill Belton, the other to Matt Lehman — but couldn't score in the second half as the Bobcats, doing their MAC traditions proud, starting to rack up the points.
Tyler Tettleton threw three second-half touchdowns, the last one, a 5-yard strike to Donte Foster, clinching the victory with three minutes to play.
McGloin was 27-48 for 259 yards, a performance that would have been unheard of in the Paterno era. Bill Belton toted the ball just 13 times for 53 yards, but lost a crucial fumble. Beau Blankenship and Landon Smith led the Nittany Lions in receiving, with seven receptions for 72 yards and three receptions for 82 yards, respectively.
The Bill O'Brien era officially gets underway on Saturday as the Penn State Nittany Lions play host to the Ohio Bobcats.
For Penn State, the goal is relatively clear. O'Brien hopes to turn the page on the horrendous Jerry Sandusky scandal that has left a black eye on the school's past successes, as well as the legacy of the then-revered, now-divisive Joe Paterno. O'Brien is tasked with the difficult job of winning football games and putting the actual focus back on football, rather than scandal.
Ohio, meanwhile, should provide Penn State quite the challenge. Though not a top-tier football program, the Bobcats were solid in 2011, going 10-4, including notching a bowl win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, defeating Utah State.
It's almost imperative that Penn State comes out and plays well. O'Brien, being a Bill Belichick disciple, should have his Nittany Lions ready to go. At long last, it's time for football in Happy Valley.