In just two days time, Penn State will meet Syracuse in MetLife Stadium, officially kicking off the 2013 season. Both teams will have a new quarterback under center, and neither coach is terribly interested in letting us know who it is. Here’s our staff’s thoughts on how this one will play out.
Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)
While all eyes will understandably be on whoever the two quarterbacks are making their first career start, I don’t expect either coach will be going into this game expecting their quarterback to be the deciding factor in this game. Both the Lions and the Orange have loads of talent in the backfield, and that will be each team’s focus. I give PSU a slight edge over Syracuse in that match up based on the defensive front 7. I don’t expect it to be pretty, but I do expect a hard fought Penn State win. 21-14 Lions.
Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)
Since both teams have uncertainty with their quarterback situations, I’m going to look at the other positions to determine my prediction. And despite Penn State’s lack of depth at certain positions, the Nittany Lions have more overall talent than Syracuse. Last year’s opener was full of so many different emotions and I think this year Bill O’Brien’s team is focused and will keep their emotions in check. However, Syracuse is no cupcake and it’ll be interesting to see how the different environment at MetLife Stadium affects both teams. Both fan bases will come out in full force and it should be a great game with a great atmosphere.
Score: Penn State 23 Syracuse 20
Staff Writer Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23)
Like Penn State, Syracuse is having trouble identifying who they want under center for Saturday’s tilt, either Drew Allen or Terrel Hunt. Both bring a different dimension to the game and gives coach Shafer different potent weapons. No matter who Syracuse lines up under center, the Nittany Lions should have an answer for them.
Look for the Lions to pound the ball with a three-headed attack of Zack Zwinak, Bill Belton and red shirt freshman Akeel Lynch. The ability to pound the ball between the tackles with take pressure of Nittany Lions QB (as of now, no QB has been named) and allow him to ease into the flow of the game. The Lions defense will force the Orange into a couple of turnovers making a short field for the Lions offense. In the end, look for the Lions to defeat Syracuse by a score of 27-17. This year’s opening game will leave Nittany Lions fans happier than they were last year.
Staff Writer Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)
I see this game being a tale of two halves. The Nittany Lions will be adjusting to a new quarterback, though it’s not exactly clear who it will be. A slow start for the offense won’t be a surprise. The running game should be solid, led by a combination of Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton. The passing game has several playmakers, but the quarterback situation will limit the production early on.
There are changes on the defensive side as well, with a few players switching positions and others starting for the first time. However, the Orange also have a new quarterback and are learning a new system under a new head coach. Penn State’s defense should have a solid day and keep Syracuse from putting up many points.
I expect the halftime score to be in the neighborhood of 10-3 in favor of Penn State. I see the Nittany Lions stepping up in the second half and becoming too much for the Orange, winning by a score of 24-10.