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Monday, May 20, 2013
Ranking PSU's opposing offensive players

By Josh Moyer

It’s Rankings Week at NittanyNation. Through Thursday, we’ll rank some aspect touching on PSU heading into the 2013 season. Today we're ranking the top offensive players Penn State will face this season.

Ranking the opposing offensive players

1. QB Braxton Miller (Ohio State): He finished fifth in the Heisman voting last year, led his team to an undefeated record, threw for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for another 1,271. Need I go on? Miller is one of the most dangerous players in the country, and he's what makes this Buckeyes' offense so good.

2. QB Taylor Martinez (Nebraska): He's a dual-threat who doesn't have the speed of Miller but is the better passer. He's probably the best B1G QB in the pocket, and defenses can't zero in on the run or the pass with Martinez under center. He's incredibly efficient and consistent.

3. OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan): OK, so he's not going to take over any games on the offensive line. But he's one of the best tackles in the country, and he's easily a future first-round NFL draft pick. Whoever goes up against Lewan will likely struggle, so Lewan could help quiet PSU's aggressive defense.

Devin Gardner
Michigan QB Devin Gardner will give defenses a true dual-threat in 2013.
4. QB Devin Gardner (Michigan): Out goes Denard Robinson, and in comes Gardner, a better passer. Gardner doesn't have to win games just with his feet and completed 59.5 percent of his passes last season. Robinson mainly threatened as a runner, but Gardner is a true dual-threat. It's almost like facing another Martinez.

5. RB Dri Archer (Kent State): If the Golden Flashes can hang at all with Penn State, it'll likely be because of Archer. He rushed for 1,429 yards last season and averaged -- averaged -- nine yards a carry. Mel Kiper compared him to Darren Sproles and believes he'll be one of the top-10 tailbacks in the 2014 NFL draft. Kent State might not be a great team, but Archer is clearly a great player.

6. RB Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska): No Rex Burkhead? No problem. The shifty Abdullah showed he can handle a big workload if called upon -- he had 31 carries against PSU last year -- and he's also an above-average receiver. He's a big-play threat.

7. RB Carlos Hyde (Ohio State): He didn't put up monster stats last year, but he was also out for two non-conference games that likely would've helped pad those numbers. He struggled only once last season, against Penn State, but he's a big back who could wear down a roster that doesn't have the greatest depth. He averaged 5.2 yards a carry last year and got better as the season wore on.

8. WR Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin): Few receivers were more valuable to their team than Abbrederis. He had more receiving yards (837) than receiving target Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 -- combined (833). He averaged 17 yards a reception and is the Badgers' main offensive threat.

9. WR Kenny Bell (Nebraska): He's the top receiving threat in the Cornhuskers' balanced offense, and he finished with 50 catches and 863 yards last season. He's not the best in the Big Ten, but he's close.

10. QB Blake Bortles (Central Florida): He's a rising junior who's coming off a season that saw him throw 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions -- and he got even better down the stretch. In the last six games, he tossed 11 TDs to zero picks. Yes, zero. Bortles is a sleeper this year and is likely in line for another 3,000-yard season.