The sincere hope is that that the debacle that happened on Monday against UMass was just that, a debacle. Teams have off nights all the time, and the Big Ten has been having a ton of them as of late. Nos. 4 Michigan, 10 Illinois, and 19 Maryland have all lost a game the were favored in, and two of those three lost at home. Nebraska already has two losses! Long story short, Penn State losing on the road to a UMass is actually low on the totem pole of debacles that have taken place in the Big Ten.
All that said, the Nittany Lions need to start figuring out what they want to do offensively, because the slate only gets tougher from here on out. They are a reprieve playing the St. Francis Terriers, but immediately will need to prepare for a slate of LSU, plus one of Oregon State or Wake Forest. Things will get interesting in a hurry.
The Terriers are 0-2 on the year, and have lost both games by double digits. The first one, against Wisconsin, was a 23-point loss, while the one against St. Thomas (Minnesota) was “only” an 18-point loss. In other words, the Nittany Lions should have little trouble handling St. Francis in this game. And, as such, should use the opportunity to work on some of the deficiencies we saw against UMass against competition that, theoretically, should not pose a threat.
Scouting The Opposition
St. Francis has exactly two people taller than 6-foot-7, so height should not be a particular concern in this game. They also don’t shoot the three particularly well either, but Trey Quartlebaum is 5 of 10 on the year, so if anyone were to jump out and go off, I’d say it’s him.
Rob Higgins is 143rd in the nation in steal rate, and given how Penn State has been coughing up the ball so far, it’s something else to keep an eye out for.
What To Watch For
The biggest thing to look for is Penn State’s response to getting humiliated on Monday. Can they put the game behind them and dominate an overmatched opponent, or will they come out lethargic and let one game dictate another?
On the coaching side, will Micah Shrewsberry make any changes to what he’s running based on last game, or does he too believe that game was an aberration and the players simply need more time to adjust to what he wants to run?
It’ll be interesting to see how motivated the Nittany Lions come out in this game. As spectators, we’re going to quickly see what kind of season this is depending on how the team looks after that loss. The Lions are still going to be too much for the Terriers, but I do expect the visitors to cover that 22 and a half point spread. Penn State 79, St. Francis 65.