PENN STATE AT PITT
Kickoff: Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
Line: Pittsburgh -5.5
Fun fact: the first and last winner in this dormant rivalry pitched a shutout. Thanks, Wikipedia!
Both teams should score on Saturday in Pittsburgh, but early indicators suggest neither will do so frequently. Penn State’s offense in the post-Christian Hackenberg era got off to a pedestrian, if not somewhat misleading start against Kent State. Yes, the Nittany Lions scored 33 points in a three-touchdown win, but the going was a little slow in the first half.
There’s an inevitable feeling-out process when replacing key players, but if the Lions have more feeling-out to do against a solid Pitt defense, points could be in short supply. Pat Narduzzi’s aggressive approach resulted in eight tackles-for-loss a week ago, and should pose problems for a Penn State offensive line that ranked among the Big Ten’s most porous a season ago.
Penn State’s likely offensive struggles mean limiting Pitt on the opposite side of the ball. The Lions limited Kent State to 3.6 yards per carry Week 1, but the degree of difficulty faced with a three-man threat of James Conner, Qadree Ollison and Nate Peterman poses a more cumbersome challenge for the Penn State defense.
If Pitt “is simply not good enough to be Penn State’s rival,” that won’t bear out in Saturday’s performance. Panthers win in a low-scoring, yet physically dominant performance.
Pitt, at least in its current state, is simply not good enough to be Penn State's rival. We deserve better. https://t.co/2o9M5VFKJ9
— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 8, 2016