Run the rock early and often against a bad Big 12 defense, and Penn State fans should get to see Drew Allar show off his arm with a fairly comfortable lead against the Mountaineers Saturday night. I know this was quite the rivalry back in the day, but I don’t expect much of a back-and-forth battle this time around. Let’s see touchdowns for Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, a fantastic defensive performance, and maybe even a few pretty touchdown passes for the new quarterback. This should be a fun night for fans to get a first taste of the weapons they’ll get to watch on either side of the ball all year.
Penn State 48, West Virginia 14
For several weeks (months?), I’ve heard the dueling cries of “WVU will be lucky to keep this game within 30”, and “WVU wins by at least two touchdowns.” While there’s no feasible way the latter happens, I’m not 100% sold that the former won’t occur. Penn State starts a little slowly initially before Singleton, Allen, Johnson, and Warren are too much for the Mountaineers.
Penn State 35, West Virginia 10
Anyone remember the 2017 Pitt game? Juiced crowd with Penn State breaking out to a big lead, but never quite fully putting the hammer down before comfortably winning 33-14? That’s where my brain keeps taking me with this game. I think Penn State’s defense comes up with a huge play to set up an early score, but Penn State’s offense also makes a big mistake to allow West Virginia some points. I think the Mountaineers are content playing keep away and with college football’s new clock rules, that’s a little more possible. Allar makes at least one jaw dropping throw, but we finally see some warts in his first full-time action. Meanwhile, the run game gets rolling in the second half to put it away.
Penn State 31, West Virginia 13
You know, if there were a prop bet out there for the first play of the game for the Lions, you know it would be a huge skew toward running the ball. Just for that reason, I think the Lions come out and bomb it deep. Not that I have any feedback on it going well or not, but I think the notion that the Lions are going to ONLY rely on running the ball, particularly early, is a poor one. Make no bones, the Lions are going to run the dang ball, but they have to - they MUST - get Allar’s feet under him before the schedule gets tougher. With that in mind, there are some growing pains early, but the defense is enough to stifle West Virginia. Eventually, PSU pulls away, leaving people feeling whelmed.
Penn State 31, West Virginia 10
The first game of the year is one of the toughest to predict- no film on the other team and breaking in new starters. Four of Penn State’s last five season openers were decided by one score. However, three of those four were on the road. I see Penn State feeding off the home crowd in a de facto White Out. WVU may keep it close early, but Penn State should break this one open somewhere in the second quarter. Watch for the Nittany Lions to establish a balanced offensive attack.
Penn State 42, West Virginia 10
I’m following the crowd with this one: I think Penn State wins and it wins big. We’ll see the offense rely on the run game early, before utilizing the play-action to give Our Baby Drew Allar some nice, easy throws in his debut.
Penn State 34, West Virginia 7
West Virginia will lean heavily on its ground game led by CJ Donaldson, with a healthy dose of read-option led by a pair of mobile QB’s in Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol. Perhaps they have some success with it early on, but this defense is too good and Manny Diaz will most certainly adjust and force the Mountaineers to have to throw the ball downfield in order to keep pace with PSU’s offense, who shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the ball on what was one of the Big 12’s worst defenses last year and only returns four starters. Look for Singleton and Allen to establish the ground attack from the get-go, which allows Drew Allar to ease into his first-ever start, which will see him throw some beauties, including a TD or two. I anticipate it being fairly close for 2.5 quarters, but PSU ultimately grinds WVU down under the Beaver Stadium lights.
Penn State 38, West Virginia 10
Regardless of how the offense performs, I can’t see West Virginia doing much damage against this Penn State defense. I expect to see Abdul Carter & Co. cause some serious issues for the Mountaineers — so much so that Beau Pribula makes his collegiate debut in the fourth quarter. But, garbage time could prevent the Nittany Lions from covering.
Penn State 31, West Virginia 13
(Originally appearing in the Big Ten Preview)
Penn State will renew its series with West Virginia, one that hadn’t been played since 1992, as they open the season against the longtime rival. This Mountaineer team is a far cry from the Rich Rodriguez teams that nearly played for a national championship, but, as Penn State fans, we take no opponent lightly. That’s what Penn State Pessimism™ is all about.
...well at least for you suckers.
Penn State 56, West Virginia 17
(Originally appearing in the Game Preview)
I’ve been preparing my “West Virginia is a scrappy opponent who will make things interesting” spiel ready all offseason. But now that it’s time for the teams to take the field, I just can’t envision Penn State struggling too much when looking how these teams match up on paper. This is the deepest and most talented team of the Franklin era, with true difference-makers that separate the good teams from those who contend on a near-annual basis. From all accounts, this team also has the leadership and drive and are on a mission to finally break through and make the program’s first-ever playoff appearance.
West Virginia throws some stuff at Allar early and get just enough out of the running game and Greene’s legs to make it interesting for the first quarter. But eventually, the offense finds its rhythm and the defense forces a couple turnovers to make things comfortable by the third quarter.
Theo Johnson starts off with a bang with two touchdown catches, while Singleton breaks a 60-yard score to get Beaver Stadium rocking. On defense, Dani Dennis-Sutton leads the way with two sacks, Abdul Carter gets a strip-sack, and true freshman linebacker Tony Rojas gets his first career interception. It doesn’t take too long for Penn State to get rolling.
Penn State 35, West Virginia 13