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Outback Bowl, Penn State Vs. Florida: Lions Prepare For Gators' Speed

Penn State will face "SEC Speed" for the second time this season when it travels to play Florida in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

The Nittany Lions didn't fare very well in their first matchup against a southern foe this season when they were pasted by Alabama 24-3 in Tuscaloosa. In that game, Penn State had trouble tackling slippery Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, and was exposed in the secondary when wide receivers Kevin Norwood and Preston Dial caught touchdowns to give Alabama a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno is worried about Florida's speed heading into the Outback Bowl.

I have looked at some of the things that Urban has done because I feel that he is very innovative and very much ahead of things. The one thing they have is their speed. I don't think we can match their speed. We are going to have to be in good position and not miss tackles. We are going to have to do some things that Urban mentioned earlier- kicking game has to be solid and we can't afford to turn it over and give them field position. We have to play good solid football game but always in the back of our head is their speed. When we played last year at LSU it was the same thing but the good Lord took care of us. I was praying like the dickens. Now maybe we won't have the rain and it won't be as sloppy as it can be.

The Gators' skill players, led by running back Jeffery Demps, boast no lack of home run threats. Four Florida players have scored touchdowns on plays of over 40 yards or more, while six have scored on plays of 20 yards or more. Penn State will need to contain Florida's quick strike capability if it is going to have any shot in this contest.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.