Two weeks, and two-straight wins for the Penn State Nittany Lions. After an opening upset loss at Temple, the Nittany Lions have reeled off home wins over Buffalo and Rutgers. This week, Penn State faces a brand new opponent in the San Diego State Aztecs.
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Penn State is favored in this matchup. San Diego state is coming off a loss to South Alabama. That was preceded by a loss to California. The Nittany Lions have a ton of momentum after a dominating performance last Saturday over Rutgers.
San Diego State is a team that many on the East coast likely do not know much about. An unknown opponent can present a challenge on the field, but on paper, it looks as if the Nittany Lions should be able to escape with a win.
In a game that might be a bit tough to predict, check out what the VBR thinks will go down Saturday afternoon.
Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr.
This is the fourth-straight week that Penn State enters as the favorite. This game is a bit hard to predict, because quite frankly, I just don’t know much about the opponent. I try to make a Saturday night ritual of staying up late to catch West coast teams, but the Aztecs are someone I haven’t seen much of.
Penn State looked great last week, and I feel that the momentum and positive feelings will continue this week. San Diego State is tough on defense, but I think that Saquon Barkley will be too much to handle. The best thing about the recent success of the run game is the fact that it should take some pressure off of Christian Hackenberg and the pass game. Hack is going against an experienced secondary, but should finally crack the 200-yard mark for the first time in a game this season.
The defense is already in mid-season form and it seems that each week a new guy steps up. I fully expect the defense to make things tough on San Diego State and come up huge in a defensive struggle. San Diego state can run the ball very well, but will find some tough-sledding against the Nittany Lions.
The Penn State offense will likely start slow, but should find enough success later in the game. It will be close early, but Penn State wins 24-3.
Staff Writer Mary Leap
The Nittany Lion offense has been much better the past two weeks and I am curious to see if that continues Saturday. San Diego State runs a 3-3-5 defense which is very rare and could provide Penn State with some headaches for 2-3 quarters on Saturday. Offensive line communication and Christian Hackenberg’s ability to read the defense pre-snap will be very important.
I expect another good game from Saquon Barkley, Akeel Lynch, and the rushing attack. Furthermore, I believe Christian Hackenberg will have his best game so far this season on Saturday and that he will toss two touchdowns in the process.
The Aztecs have a very good running back in Donnel Pumphrey who Penn State’s defense must contain, and I am confident they will do so. San Diego State’s quarterback situation is a mess due to the struggles of transfer Maxwell Smith. Even if Penn State’s offense struggles on Saturday, I believe their defense will be so stifling against San Diego State’s offense that it will not matter.
Penn State 28
San Diego State 13
Staff Writer Shane Lunnen
This is an interesting matchup with San Diego State. Not too many teams play a 3-3-5 like the Aztecs do, providing an interesting look against a Penn State offense that might be finally getting on track.
At some point Christian Hackenberg will get it going, so maybe it will be this week. With the tandem of Akeel Lynch and Saquon Barkley keeping defenses focused on stopping the run, this should open up the passing game a little. It will be a challenge for Hack and the receivers as the Aztecs have seven returning starters on defense, including the entire secondary. However, I predict Hack finally throws for over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The defense will continue their domination this week over a one-dimensional Aztecs’ offense. San Diego State’s running back Donnel Pumphrey is their best player but I don’t expect him to find much running room against Penn State’s front seven. I’m sure Bob Shoop is game planning to force the Aztecs to beat the Nittany Lions through the air. It will be tough going all day for San Diego State.
I’m not ready to say Penn State’s offense is completely back, mainly due to the level of competition. However, I think the Nittany Lions win this one comfortably, 34-10.
Staff Writer Ryan Lance
Penn State will play its third-straight home game as they take on the Aztecs from San Diego State this weekend at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions head into the event at 2-1 after picking up a big victory over Rutgers last weekend. The Aztecs head to Happy Valley with a disappointing 1-2 record as they lost their last two games to Cal and South Alabama.
We saw some good things out of the Penn State offense last week as the ground game shredded Rutgers for 330 yards on the ground. However, one facet of the offense that still struggled was the passing game as Hackenberg was only 10-19 for 141 yards and one interception.
The defense will again prove too much for the opposing Aztecs, as the front seven should dominate the line of scrimmage all game long. I’d like to see the offense continue to pound the running game and work some play action passing and getting the ball down field. As teams begin to stack the box to apply pressure and try and stop the run, it’ll be imperative for the passing game to get going when Big Ten play picks back up.
I think the Nittany Lions will continue to show signs of improvement and win this game in convincing fashion 31-13.
Staff Writer Nick Lemon
San Diego State University makes the cross-country trip to play Penn State for the first time in school history. While the Aztecs have more talent on their roster than their 1-2 record would suggest, I am not expecting SDSU to get back on track in Beaver Stadium because, like The Notorious B.I.G. said, “If I got to choose a coast I got to choose the East.”
Penn State’s defense looked formidable with Brandon Bell and Grant Haley back in action last week. I expect the Nittany Lions front seven to contain SDSU’s 1,867 yard rusher from a season ago, Donnel Pumphrey, as he is averaging only 3.7 yards per carry this year. If SDSU falls behind early Penn State’s defense should cause havoc for the Aztecs struggling passing game and have ample opportunities to add to their three interceptions this season.
On offense, Saquon Barkley adds a few more runs to his rapidly growing highlight film as Penn State’s backfield continues to churn up yards against SDSU’s 3-3-5 defense. With an established running threat, the play book and passing game finally begin to open up and Hackenberg throws for two touchdowns in his best game of the season.
The Aztecs are “going going, back back, to Cali Cali” with their third loss of the season.
Penn State wins 24-7.