Penn State vs. Central Florida

Posted: August 30, 2014

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.; Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

TV/Radio: ESPN2; WNTP-AM (990), WNPV-AM (1440).

Coaches: Penn State, James Franklin (first season); Central Florida, George O'Leary (11th season, 72-56).

Series: Penn State leads the series, 2-1. UCF picked up its first victory over the Nittany Lions last season, 34-31, at Beaver Stadium.

Three Things to Watch

This will be the first chance to watch the style of offense and defense to be employed by Franklin and the members of his coaching staff, most of whom followed him to Happy Valley from Vanderbilt. Some schemes on both sides of the football are said to be similar to those used by Bill O'Brien.

Four members of the Nittany Lions offensive line will make their first college start, while the Knights return nine of their 11 defensive starters from last season. The ability of the inexperienced offensive linemen to adapt to UCF's schemes is key to Christian Hackenberg's ability to conduct a balanced attack.

With the departure of NFL first-round pick Blake Bortles, Central Florida starts a new quarterback in redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo, and the Penn State pass rushers and secondary must find ways to confuse him and force turnovers.

Three Things You Might Not Know

The field at Croke Park normally measures 158 yards long by 96 yards wide for the two sports competed there - Gaelic football and hurling. So it will look small by comparison when lined for an American football game, 120 yards by 53 yards.

Speaking of Irish sports, fans are not happy that Saturday's game is bumping an All-Ireland Gaelic Football Championship semifinal to Limerick, two hours away. Last weekend's game between Kerry and Mayo at Croke Park ended in a tie, and the rules dictate a replay, normally scheduled for the following week at the same venue.

Franklin's mother lived in England until her marriage - in Ireland - to his father, and she lived mostly in Langhorne, Bucks County, after that. While in Ireland, the coach plans to visit with relatives on his mother's side for the first time in 15 years, and they will meet his wife and his two daughters for the first time.

- Joe Juliano

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