Last week was not the greatest performance by the Nittany Lions and the various reasons have been discussed ad nauseam, but it was still a win. I’m also under the impression Appalachian State is the best out of conference opponent Penn State will play this year. Despite the night game on the road, expect a much better showing and another victory.
Penn State 38, Pitt 24
Entering this season, I had this game chalked up as a win. After the fourth quarter implosion against Appalachian State? Not so sure. I do believe that both Franklin and the players thought they would have an easier time of things, and got a little lackadaisical and “cute” with their gameplan and execution. I don’t believe the same mistake will be made against Pitt. In any case, Pitt is going to get up for this game, and it’s a night kickoff on the road. I’m more than a little spooked, to be honest. I’ll say the good guys win, but it’s an ugly, back-and-forth affair all night.
Penn State 28, Pitt 24
Last week and App State are in the past. Penn State still has a lot to improve on, but Pitt isn’t quite up to the task, even in a night game in their own stadium. That being said, the Panthers won’t make it easy. WPIAL alum Miles Sanders will be the difference, as the Nittany Lions struggle in the first half and even trail near halftime. Eventually though, Sanders and Slade wear down the home team’s defense in the fourth quarter and get the victory.
Penn State 31, Pitt 21
As I have hammered home since the narrow escape of Appalachian State, I think PSU made a number of mistakes that were fairly easily fixable. Additionally, the return of Kevin Givens, Tommy Stevens and potentially Shane Simmons should give PSU a huge boost. While it’s a road game, the environment at Heinz Field isn’t the same as that at The Beav (TM). I think that could help a number of new starters settle in a lot better in game No. 2 (looking at you, KJ, Micah and Michal Menet). The last line had this at PSU -8.5. I picked Pitt to cover, but only just.
Penn State 31, Pitt 23
Looking back at the App State game, I’ll have to agree with Clay that a lot of the mistakes that were made are easily fixable. That being said, the biggest worry I have going forward is tackling. If the tackling doesn’t get fixed, their going to have problems with every opponent, no matter how good or bad they may be. I think the return of Kevin Givens this week is huge and I think we see a fair share of Tommy Stevens in his LIONS role. James Franklin can admit or not but I feel that there is a good sense of a need for the team to come out and make a statement against Pitt. That being said, the Pitt coaching staff, roster, and fansa are going to be up and ready for this game and it’s going to be a rowdy atmosphere to say the least. If the Lions can get out to an early and quick lead in this one, I think it could be a great nice for the program, but if this is close going into the fourth quarter, it’s going to be nerve wracking just like this past weekend. But as Lee Corso loves to say “NO SO FAST”, give me the Lions and give me them by 17! (Nits pull away in the 4th quarter including a garbage time touchdown)
Penn Sate 38, Pitt 21
Man to man Pitt can not match up with Penn State. The Nittany Lions are just simply more talented. That said, this is Pitt’s Super Bowl. If the Panthers win on Saturday night and then proceed to lose out to finish 2-10, they will consider it a successful season because they will have beaten Penn State.
Penn State’s defense, especially the front seven, must be better on Saturday night. The Panthers will test a Nittany Lion front seven that was bad against App State and they will do it with a good stable of running backs. However, Penn State should have Kevin Givens back at DT this week which should make a huge difference. It is also difficult to envision either Amani Oruwariye or John Reid, let alone both, struggling in consecutive games.
The Nittany Lion offense should have a huge advantage over the Panther defense. Led by Heisman candidate Trace McSorley Penn State’s offense remains one of the best in the Big Ten. I also think Miles Sanders will be running angry as he returns home to the 412. Even if Penn State’s defense struggles again on Saturday, it’s tough to envision Pitt’s defense getting enough stops for the Panthers to pull the upset.
This game won’t be easy, it will be a hostile environment, and Penn State will have to work for a victory. This game will be stressful and the Nittany Lions may have to come from behind at some point. But, in the end, the talent gap wins out.
Penn State 38, Pitt 28
Penn State 42, Pitt 23
Penn State ought to clean up some of the issues that plagued them on the defensive side of the ball, but Pitt is still going to give them problems with their stable of running backs and with Kenny Pickett’s dual threat ability. I’m very much an “I’ll see it when I believe it” type of guy, so I’ll believe PSU covers the 8.5-point spread when I see it.
Penn State 35, Pitt 31
Week 1 overreactions are all the rage, but I guess I’m caught up in it too. Based on last week, my concerns about replacing production were apparently warranted - offense first half, defense second half. I think App State is a good team. Are they better than Pitt? I honestly have no idea, and anyone who says they do is speculating.
I think, though, that this Penn State team is good. I know it’s talented. The question is when that talent comes together as a cohesive unit. I’m not sure that it’s this week, next week, or next year. But I’m hopeful that the Nittany Lions have made progress, and that they look more like last week’s 3rd quarter team than 4th quarter.
I’m pessimistic, but can’t pick against State in this game. I’m a homer, but so be it.
Penn State 38, Pitt 31
We know how much this game means to the Panthers, and they will come out playing like their hair is on fire after seeing an opportunity to knock off Penn State following an inconsistent performance in week one. The Nittany Lions will absolutely get Pitt’s best shot, and must be prepared to match their intensity.
Penn State still has a large talent gap over the Panthers, and should come out victorious as long they play close to their potential. They should also be motivated to prove that they are a much better team than the one that narrowly escaped an Appalachian State squad that turned out to be anything but a sacrificial lamb.
I’m sticking to my preseason prediction that Miles Sanders goes off on Saturday, running for 211 yards and two touchdowns. McSorley does McSorley things, and connects with KJ Hamler for a touchdown for the second week in a row.
On defense, Yetur Gross-Matos emerges with two sacks, while Kevin Givens manages three tackles for loss in his 2018 debut.
Penn State 38, Pitt 27