In last week’s prediction roundtable, the entire staff chose Penn State to come out on top and was wrong…
This Saturday, the Nittany Lions will travel to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers. Here is how the staff at VictoryBellRings.com sees that matchup shaking out:
Penn State stops UVA’s rushing attack. UVA resorts to a heavy dose of passing, which results in a few key turnovers for Penn State. Penn State capitalizes on turnovers while not turning the ball over themselves and wins 24-20.
I was reading that Virginia’s QB Rocco wanted to go to Penn State but the prior staff had already decided on Bolden and Jones as the QBs of the future. How’s that working out? Anyway, I think Penn State plays hard again but runs out of gas in the 2nd half.
Matt de Bear:
A week removed from an emotional opener vs. Ohio, the Nittany Lions are better able to control their emotions through a close, physical contest. With Bill Belton’s likely absence from the lineup, Derek Day, Akeel Lynch, Zach Zwinak and Curtis Dukes share the carries as PSU does a better job balancing the run and pass on offense. More running plays keep the defense off the field for longer stretches, and better prepared for a close game down the stretch, coming up with a big stop late to preserve Bill O’Briens first career win.
Penn State must have a rebound game like none other in the program’s history. No, I don’t think I’m embellishing things either. The national and local media are waiting to see how Coach O’Brien gets his team ready for this tilt. Another Penn State loss could send this program spiraling into a tailspin that will take years to rebound from. The Lions must find a way to do the following in order to win: get off the field on 3rd down, improve special teams play, and score TD’s in the redzone. I think Penn State manages to do just enough to pull out a gutty road win. They will show the heart that Bill O’Brien has been hoping for.
I want to think that Penn State gets things straightened out and, with all the emotions out of the way, they find a way to get a win on the road…I just can’t. Putting up just 14 points (zero in the 2nd) half against Ohio was a big wake up call. This team may simply not have the playmakers to put up points like I once thought they did. With starting running back Bill Belton’s status in question, they could be short one more playmaker this weekend.
I don’t think UVA will be able to run the ball well against PSU, only avg. 4.4 vs. FCS Richmond; however, I do think they will be able to gain some yards on WR screens and short passes a la Ohio. UVA beat Richmond in a blowout but a lot was self-inflicted by an FCS team — safety on punt, bad snaps, easy 5 yard pass turned into 50 yard TD on blown tackle. I think the offense converts better than last week; the crowd will not be a factor — getting out of town will actually do PSU well
After Penn State’s second half performance against Ohio, it’s hard to see them go on the road against a good team and come out with a win. I expect the Nittany Lions to play hard, but the possibility of Bill Belton not playing will hurt an already mediocre offense. Ted Roof and the defense need to make adjustments and stop the short passing game, which is what killed them against Ohio. A valiant effort in Bill O’Brien’s first road game just falls short in Charlottesville.