Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Navy
Staff predictions return for Week 3 as various Onward State writers offer their thoughts on tomorrow’s game at Beaver Stadium in which the Penn State Nittany Lions (0-2) face the Navy Midshipmen (0-1). Let’s get right to the picks.
Penn State 27 Navy 17
I think this game could be closer than a lot of people realize. The Nittany Lions do not have the offensive firepower and consistency to truly blow out an opponent, but they should be good enough to win here. When push comes to shove, they’re more talented than Navy. Expect Matt McGloin to constantly target Allen Robinson and throw two more touchdown passes.
While tough to game plan for, the Penn State defense should be able to contain Navy’s triple-option attack. Look for the unit to cure its third down woes as Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti both force turnovers. Navy is not good enough to beat Penn State. The only thing that will beat Penn State here is if Bill O’Brien’s squad beats itself with mental mistakes and missed opportunities. There was a lot of that last week. It won’t happen tomorrow.
Penn State 31 Navy 14
I know, picking Penn State to score 31 points is almost unheard of. But if the Nittany Lions don’t cover the 7.5 point spread, they will have underperformed. This is the Navy team that gave up 50 points to Notre Dame only two weeks ago. Penn State should be able to at least put up half that on the Midshipmen without too much trouble. Forget the worries about the kicking game — Penn State shouldn’t need to rely on Sam Ficken to win this one handedly.
Penn State 24 Navy 14
Penn State will finally pick up its first win of the season against Navy. The key to this game will be stopping the Midshipmen’s triple option rushing attack. In Navy’s last game, eight different players carried the ball for the Midshipmen led by quarterback Trey Miller’s 20 carries. Expect them to spread the ball around in the ground game. The secondary will need to stay awake. Navy does not pass often, but the defense must be prepared when they do.
Matt McGloin will toss two touchdown passes early and running back Curtis Dukes will score Penn State’s first rushing touchdown late in the game to seal it for the Lions. Also look out for Paul Jones to make his collegiate debut at the tight end position. Jones changed his number and will be wearing 13.
Penn State 27 Navy 10
Finally, Penn State puts it all together. Matt McGloin throws for three TDs, including two to Allen Robinson. Curtis Dukes rumbles for 75+ yards and the defense continues last week’s dominant run defense. Sam Ficken even adds a couple field goals.
P.S. I would be absolutely shocked if Penn State does not cover the point spread.
Navy 35 Penn State 20
I’m picking Navy solely because I’m very superstitious and every time I pick Penn State to win anything they lose. That being said, Navy runs the triple option, an outdated offense that the military schools still use because it relies on speed and not size. It is the easiest offense to scout, and if done right, can be the easiest to defend. That being said, the secondary will be getting a break (there may be five pass plays if that) so the linebackers need to have a huge game this week.
Penn State 27 Navy 10
The Penn State offense comes out early and scores on their first two possessions. The first drive will result in a short TD pass to Kyle Carter, and the second drive will end with a 30 yard field goal from Sam Ficken, giving him some confidence back. The defense will hold off the triple option offense and Bill O’Brien will register his first win as a head coach.