What you need to know: No. 5 Penn State vs. Georgia State
UNIVERSITY PARK — Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye on, and where and when you can catch the Nittany Lions on fall Saturdays this season.
Game details: vs. Georgia State, 7:30 p.m. kickoff, broadcast on BTN
Records: Penn State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten), Georgia State (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Venue: Beaver Stadium, where Penn State has won nine consecutive games.
Weather forecast (via AccuWeather): Good tailgating weather is on tap, with a high of 74 degrees during the day. It’ll feel warmer, with mostly cloudy skies. Temps will drop in the low 60s at night, and there’s a 25-percent chance of precipitation throughout the entire day.
Last week: Penn State toppled Pitt 33-14, while Georgia State had a bye; the Panthers lost to Tennessee State in their opener.
Overview: This one is for the fans. A primetime matchup and a guaranteed win. Such things supposedly don’t exist in the Big Ten, but here we are. A full day of tailgating awaits, and the atmosphere outside of Beaver Stadium will probably mirror more of a daylong music festival. It might take Penn State a handful of series to really get going, though at some point, the Lions should turn this into the blowout everyone expects.
The line: Penn State –38.5
All-time series: This is the first meeting between Penn State and Georgia State.
Penn State wins if: Let’s not try to analyze this one. Just enjoy the day. Stay hydrated, and stay safe.
Georgia State wins if: Guessing we couldn’t really say anything here and sound believable, right?
Count on: An environment that maybe you’ve never seen before at Beaver Stadium. It’s almost weird, hosting a non-conference, lower-level FBS team for a primetime matchup. As Andre Robinson and Mike Gesicki have said, any night game at Beaver Stadium is special. They’re right, of course. But this one will probably feel different.
Keep an eye on: Penn State’s supremely capable group of non-starters. I hesitate to say “backups” here since a lot of these players would be starters on most other teams. How many snaps will Tommy Stevens get at quarterback? Will a running back not named Saquon Barkley see 15-plus carries? The usual stars will get their stats, but this should be a night when most of Penn State’s sideline sees action.
Trivia tidbit: Georgia State will be the 156th different opponent Penn State has played. Since 2000, the Nittany Lions have played 13 new opponents, winning all but one of those contests.
Saquon Barkley record watch: Barkley’s passing a Penn State legend seemingly every week on his way toward the top spot. After his 88 rushing yards against Pitt, Barkley now has 2,832 for his career, good for ninth all-time, passing Matt Suhey (2,818) and Ki-Jana Carter (2,829). Next up: Lydell Mitchell (2,934 yards).
*Season record: 2-0
*Season record against the spread: 1-1
Prediction: Penn State 48, Georgia State 10
*HappyValley season record