What you need to know: Penn State vs. Kent State
Photo courtesy Penn State
After Penn State’s domination at Pitt last week, what can we expect to see at our game against Kent state on our own turf? Read on, and we’ll let you know!
Game details: vs. Kent State, noon kickoff, broadcast on FS1.
Records: No. 11 Penn State 2-0, Kent State 1-1.
Last week: Penn State throttled Pitt 51-6 at Heinz Field, while Kent State beat Howard 54-14.
Venue: Beaver Stadium, where Penn State has won 15 consecutive games.
Weather forecast (via AccuWeather): High of 76 degrees, with clouds and humidity.
Overview: Penn State faces its most manageable test in non-conference play, hosting a MAC opponent that the Nittany Lions have never lost to; Penn State is undefeated in five tries. Hopefully, the rain holds off, and fans can enjoy a few hours of tailgating before the game—and after—before the Nittany Lions begin Big Ten play.
The line: Penn State –34.
All-time series (1965-2016): Penn State leads 5-0.
Last time they met (2016): The Nittany Lions earned a 33-13 victory, with Amani Oruwariye returning an interception for a touchdown right after halftime, helping Penn State win its season opener at Beaver Stadium. That was Trace McSorley’s first career start, and he threw two touchdown passes, finishing 16-of-31 for 209 yards.
Throwback classic (2013): Penn State won 34-0, and most notably, in weather conditions that featured some of the most consistent and pounding rain at Beaver Stadium in recent history. Zach Zwinak rushed for three touchdowns, Christian Hackenberg contributed a touchdown throw to Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch gained 123 rushing yards to lead the Nittany Lions. Defensively, Ryan Keiser added an interception.
Penn State wins if: they simply do what’s needed. Let’s not try to overanalyze this one, as this is the one game that shouldn’t have Penn State fans worried at all.
Kent State wins if: a whole lot of unexpected things happen. To Kent State’s credit, they lost to Illinois by only a touchdown (31-24) in the season opener, though the Fightin’ Illini are probably the worst team in the Big Ten.
Count on: McSorley throwing a touchdown pass. The senior team captain has tossed a score in 30 straight games, the longest active streak in the FBS.
Keep an eye on: Sean Clifford. If Penn State can create enough of a lead by late in the third quarter—or really anytime—the redshirt freshman quarterback might see the most significant playing time in his young career. This is also dependent on Tommy Stevens’ health. Last week, Clifford relieved McSorley in the blowout victory over Pitt, and he threw a 34-yarda touchdown pass to Brandon Polk on his first career throw.
Trivia tidbit: Kent State has scored only one offensive touchdown in the series, coming in 1965, a 21-6 Penn State win in Rip Engle’s final season as head coach. The Golden Flashes did score touchdowns in 2003 and 2016, though the scores came off turnovers.
Prediction: Penn State 48, Kent State 17
*Season record: 2-0.
*Season record against the spread: 2-0.
*HappyValley.com season records