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Penn State Football: Trio Of Nittany Lions Looking Forward To Homecoming Against Michigan

by on October 08, 2014 2:00 PM

By a stroke of luck and a little help from conference expansion, Penn State has played Michigan in State College over the span of three of the last four meetings.

That has worked out well for the Nittany Lions who have won all four of those games, three straight now with a different head coach each time.

But for three Penn State players, defensive end CJ Olaniyan, defensive tackle Anthony Zettel and  fullback Charles Idemudia they haven't had a chance to come back to their home state to play in front of friends and family.

"I have a lot of people that are trying to come right now," Olaniyan said this week. "I'm thinking around 25 or 30 people, 30 tickets.  If I can get more tickets, I'm going to have more people come."

"Anthony, he's been coming at me saying I'm taking all the tickets, but I kind of did an educated count of how many people offered him tickets. It's going to be a close race. So if I could get more tickets than him, that's definitely going to be the goal."

For all three players it will be a unique chance to play back at home. Olaniyan growing up in Warren with Zettel and Idemudia hailing from West Branch and Detroit respectively. A 7 PM kick ought to bring out a strong showing from the Wolverine faithful even if Michigan continues to struggle through a 3-game losing streak.

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Michigan football is always known for their run game and they have been very successful at the run game this year," Olaniyan said. "I know as far as us as the D‑Line, if we rush the passer, we have to have lane integrity and make sure we discipline ourselves, because (quarterback Devin) Gardner, if he sees an opening, he's going to take it.  And the traditional run game, we have to make sure we follow our keys and just come out there and play."

And a chance to play in the Big House, a stadium that all three players grew up knowing all about and seeing great Michigan teams play in?

"Yeah, it's always nice to go back and play at your hometown," Olaniyan said. "I'll just be looking forward to just playing in front of my family."

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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