New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Penn State vs. Boston College Prediction Roundtable


After a month off, Penn State returns to action on the field in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Though the Nittany Lions finished the regular season with a disappointing record of 6-6, James Franklin and his squad get a chance to finish the year on a positive note with a victory over a tough Boston College team inside of Yankee Stadium on December 27.

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The Nittany Lions had a hard time moving the ball and putting up points for much of the season. The struggling offense will be challenged in this game against a very solid Boston College defense. While the Penn State defense finished the year as one of the best in the nation, especially against the run, the Nittany Lions will have to stop a Boston College running game that’s one of the best in the country.

Although the Nittany Lions are big underdogs, there is sure to be a large contingent of screaming fans dressed in blue and white inside of Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Find out what the VBR staff thinks will happen when Penn State faces Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl Saturday.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr.
On paper, this game looks like a classic low-scoring, defensive battle, and that’s exactly how I see it turning out. Penn State was downright awful on offense at times this season. Yes, the Nittany Lions have had 15 practices to work things out and improve, but I am not very optimistic that things will be much different.

Boston College was very good on the defensive line this season and at getting to the quarterback. That’s something that will give Penn State’s offensive line fits. However, I do think quarterback Christian Hackenberg will have a few opportunities to exploit a week Boston College secondary.

On defense, I see the Nittany Lions being able to dominate the game and completely shut down the Boston College running attack. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see a defensive touchdown in this one.

It won’t be pretty, but give me the Nittany Lions 17-10.

Staff Writer Corey Hunter
Penn State returns to post season play for the first time since 2012. The Nittany Lions are looking to cap off the 2014 season with a New Era Pinstripe Bowl victory over former East coast rival, the Boston College Eagles. While I can recall shootouts in the 1980’s against Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, the 2014 editions of both Boston College and Penn State are much different than those teams. The 2014 Eagles have become one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top rushing attacks. The Eagles ranked 2nd in the ACC averaging 251.83 yards per game on the ground while their passing attack ranks dead last in the ACC, throwing for just a scant 132 yards per game. Conversely, Penn State has not only the Big Ten’s top-rated rush defense, but also the top-rated rush defense nationally! The Pinstripe Bowl will truly be a matchup of the immovable object vs the irresistible force.

If we call the Penn State defense (Barnes, Johnson, Zettel, Olaniyan, Hull, Bell, and Wartman) against the Boston College rushing attack (QB Tyler Murphy, RB Jon Hilliman, and RB Myles Willis) a wash, the game essentially boils down to the Penn State offense against the Boston College defense. Don’t sleep on the Eagles defense. Boston College ranked second in the ACC and sixth nationally in total rush defense allowing just 95.50 yards per game. Where Penn State may find success is through the air. Boston College ranked in the bottom half of the ACC in passing yards allowed giving up nearly 220 yards passing per game. If Penn State offensive line can give QB Christian Hackenberg some time, he may be able to systematically pick apart the Eagles secondary.

Neither team lights up the scoreboard. The Nittany Lions ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring offense averaging a mere 19.8 points per game while Boston College was in the bottom third of the ACC averaging 25.8 points per game. With that being said, I don’t see a shootout in this one. I see a game that is controlled by each team’s defense with either special teams play or crucial turnover being the difference in the game. While it won’t surprise me to see Boston College get the win, I’m going say that the Nittany Lions find just enough offense to get Sam Ficken into field goal range to kick the game winner.

Penn State – 20

Boston College – 17

Staff Writer Eric Sion
Even though this isn’t the sexiest bowl game matchup out there, I think it’s one of the more intriguing ones. How will Penn State fare in its first bowl game since the bowl ban was lifted? Which unit will win, Penn State’s top-ranked rushing defense or Boston College’s powerful rushing offense? How will Christian Hackenberg look after having nearly a whole month to recover from getting sacked and beat up on a week-to-week basis?

The Nittany Lions limped to the finish line in the regular season while the Eagles are coming off of a win against Syracuse and a very close loss to Florida State (a game in which they played very well). I know momentum probably won’t mean much considering it’s been a while since the regular season ended, but it’s hard to see Penn State winning this game with that offense. The defense will be great as usual, but the offense’s inability to consistently move the ball, pick up first downs and get into the end zone will be this team’s demise at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Boston College wins by a score of 21-16.