-audience responds in unison- "SHUT UP AND GET TO THE PREDICTIONS NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR ANECDOTES"
Jesus okay fine, sorry. This week, the Nittany Lions take on the San Diego State Aztecs in Happy Valley. It's a 3:30 p.m. start, presumably because SDSU will be jetlegged and a nooner would be torture. Noon starts are one of the 250 most indefensible things about college athletics, anyway. Come along now, as our staff tries to predict the winner of one of sports' classic rivalries: a ferocious animal and appropriated indigenous cultures.
bscaff: I know zero about SDSU, and I don't care. For the first time since 1997, Penn State has a tailback who makes 0-yard plays into 8-yard plays. (Apologies to a couple of really good backs.) Hopefully Aztec-alum Marshall Faulk tunes in the game, since there's suddenly a reason to watch our bad offense.
Penn State Many - San Diego State Few
Dan: It's important that this offense keep building momentum. Every week that this offensive line plays together and communicates effectively is critical. Every week that Christian Hackenberg makes the right audibles at the line is critical. And defensively, rotating in guys to build depth so that we can continue to absorb injuries without falling apart is critical.
Penn State 34 - San Diego State 10
Eli: Like Rutgers last week, this is a team I had much less confidence going against until now. With 14 starters returning, and an even 7/7 distribution, I thought San Diego State would perform better than they have three weeks into the season. It hasn't materialized for them so far. On the other hand, slowly, but surely, our offense seems to be getting into a rhythm. This will be a game where we see another aspect of the offense start to click.
Penn State 56 - San Diego State 17
Matt: Confidence can be a funny thing for a college football team, especially one relying on as much youth as Penn State. Against Temple, any early confidence was shattered by a few sacks, and a devastating injury to a defensive leader, snowballing into disaster quickly. It continued into the Buffalo game, until a freshman from Whitehall High School finally created a spark. That spark lit the grease fire that is Rutgers football last weekend, and now suddenly, an offense with many issues has found some sort of rhythm. That will continue this weekend against an overmatched San Diego State team that surrendered over 5 yards per carry on the ground a week ago against South Alabama.
Penn State 34 - San Diego State 16
Tim: [Condescending Wonka pose] Oh, you like to blitz a lot? Please, tell me about how you enjoy watching Saquon Barkley run unscathed for another touchdown.
Penn State Conquistadors 31 - Aztecs 7
Nick: Full doses of Barkley and Lynch, plus some over-eager pass rushers on the San Diego State defense will hopefully lead to some play action passing from the offense this week. However, those two will once again carry the load, and Penn State will cruise to a fairly easy victory. I think the defense holds the Aztecs to 3 until the fourth quarter when the backups come in/everyone is tired, and Pumphrey takes advantage to get SDSU on the board. Give me Hack to go for 230 through the air with two TD's (one on a screen pass to Hamilton), Barkley and Lynch to rush for 130 and 80 (respectively), Anthony Zettel to pick up two sacks, Troy Reeder to grab a pick and Carl Nassib to get a strip sack. Boom.
Penn State 31 - San Diego State 13
NCAA Football 14: Penn State laid the smackdown on San Diego State in this week's NCAA football simulation. For starters, Saquon had 220 all purpose yards, and Akeel ran for 85 and two TD's, which sounds pretty realistic! Hackenberg gets in on the action this week, tossing two touchdowns, the first to DaeSean Hamilton for a 62 yard score, and the second on a very curiously-called Mike Gesicki-jet sweep inside the red zone. Unfortunately for Christian, he threw another pick while taking his only QB hit of the night. Quite a performance from the offensive line in this one!
The defense was a machine. They brought down the quarterback four times total, with Nassib and Zettel accounting for one each, while redshirt freshman phenom, Troy Reeder, grabbed two himself. Not to be outdone, Jordan Lucas (perhaps the star of this simulated season thus far) grabbed an interception.
The big stats to know:
- Hackenberg passing yards- 225 (and McSorley got a few garbage time drives!), 17/22 passing
- Penn State's Defense: 195 total yards allowed. Yuuuuup.
- Joey Julius Field Goals: 1, coming after Geno Lewis dropped a would-be touchdown on 3rd and goal from the 9 yardline.
- Penn State 31 - San Diego State 0