College football returns to Happy Valley and Beaver Stadium this weekend when the 1-0 Nittany Lions return home to face the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Ron English’s squad is coming off a come from behind 34-24 win over Howard last week in their season opener. Here’s what the VBR staff expects this weekend.
Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)
While the first game jitters are out of the way, it will still be a big moment for Christian Hackenberg, who will of course make his first appearance in Beaver Stadium. I expect the scope of the offense to expand a bit from what we saw against Syracuse, as Hack, and the offense, continue to settle in. Oh, and 60 minutes of that Allen Robinson guy will help. ARob’s presence will stretch the field, and not only lead to a couple of big plays in the passing game, but also loosen up the EMU front for the running game. The defense should be solid once again, and the Lions cruise to a 35-6 win.
Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)
Expect a much looser bunch of Nittany Lions for this game now that they’re back in their home stadium. Hackenberg will throw two more touchdown passes and the running game will be much better than it was against Syracuse. The defensive front will be more consistent with getting pressure in the Eastern Michigan backfield and the defense as a whole will force a few more turnovers. This game is important with UCF looming and Penn State can’t sustain any more injuries to players who get significant playing time.
Score: Penn State 34 Eastern Michigan 14
Staff Writer Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23)
Joe Paterno would always quip that teams would always make the biggest strides between week 1 and 2. Look for fewer turnovers than last week and solid improvements to be made this week by the Nittany Lions.
Look for Hack and the rest of the Lions to dominate both sides of the ball this Saturday as the Lions give the ground game more looks this week than they did the last week. I expect the RBBC (running back by committee) to total 150 yards on the ground, and why not, Howard rushed for a combined 202 yards against Eastern Michigan. Overall, this should be a very nice, comfortable home-opening win for the Lions. Look for them to pull away early and have players like Tyler Ferguson, Adam Brenneman, and Akeel Lynch make solid contributions. The Lions win this 34-6.
Staff Writer Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)
This game should make for a great opener for the Beaver Stadium home crowd. Though both teams are coming off a win in Week 1, Eastern Michigan will struggle mightily in this one. They defeated FBS opponent Howard 34-24 last week, but the Nittany Lions will be too much to handle.
With one game under his belt, true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg will look to take a step forward in his development. I expect another big yardage game from him in this one, surpassing the 300-yard mark for the first time. Allen Robinson will start this week and that will only help Hackenberg, as those two seemed to have an immediate chemistry in the second half last week.
I’m not expecting this one to be close at all. The Penn State offense will be too much, both in the air and on the ground. The defense, which looked solid against Syracuse, will have another good week and shut down the Eagles. Look for the Nittany Lions to come out with a convincing 37-7 victory.