Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Kent State
Our staff is ready for Saturday’s season opener against Kent State in Beaver Stadium, which means its time for some predictions. We all think the Nittany Lions will come out on top, but some think it could be a little closer than expected.
James Turchick (season record 0-0): Penn State 35, Kent State 14
This should be one of the easier games of the season for the Lions, and with the momentum of a home opener behind them it should be a good start to their season. With well-maintained offensive and defensive lines for the Golden Flashes, the Lions will have to keep a quick tempo to tire the visitors out. I expect more success with the pass game than the run game this week and definitely expect to see a DaeSean Hamilton come up big in the endzone. If and when Penn State does tire Kent State out, the field should open up for the Nittany Lions with some deep passes later in the game.
Steve Connelly (season record 0-0): Penn State 21, Kent State 3
The Nittany Lions may struggle on offense in the opening few drives, but McSorley should find his groove as the game goes on. Defensively, Penn State should be stout against the Golden Flashes. It’ll be a good game for Penn State to find its rhythm.
Elissa Hill (season record 0-0): Penn State 19, Kent State 17
I think this game will end closer than it should as James Franklin’s fast-paced offense learns its gameday footing. Touchdowns by Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton, and Chris Godwin will round out the Nittany Lions scoreboard, though I’m not entirely confident the extra point will find its way through the uprights tomorrow (RIP Ficken). This game could be a nailbiter for Penn Staters, but I predict the Nittany Lions will come out on top.
Tim Reams (season record 0-0): Penn State 45, Kent State 7
Kent State is a mediocre-at-best team from the MAC coming into Beaver Stadium on opening day of the highly anticipated season. In the preseason projections, many think Kent State will fall to last or second to last in its division, and facing a foe in Penn State should prove to be too great of a challenge for the Golden Flashes.
While they will come out and scrap, play physical, and do their best to bring an upset out, the Nittany Lions should come out firing from the opening snap until the half, and by that point cruise control should be an option for Franklin’s squad. Watch for Saquon to rush for over 100, Trace to rush for 100 and throw for over 200 yards in the opener, but the most electric performances will be from the hyped-comeback kid a Nyeem Wartman-White and Andre Robinson. Robinson will definitely see some carries and has big potential to turn some heads week one, as he has a lot to prove, and the hunger to do so.
Ethan Kasales (season record 0-0): Penn State 38, Kent State 6
Despite breaking in a new spread attack against a solid Kent State defense, James Franklin’s Nittany Lions have too many electric skill players to hang around for long. I see Saquon Barkley taking a kickoff to the house for the first time since Chaz Powell in the 2011 season opener against Indiana State, while also adding a rushing touchdown. It’ll be interesting to see how successful Penn State’s defensive line is at getting after the rotating trio of quarterbacks for the Golden Flashes. This one should be sealed up by early in the third quarter, if not sooner.
Lexi Shimkonis (season record 0-0): Penn State 27, Kent State 14
Will Penn State win tomorrow? Absolutely. Will it be pretty? I don’t think so. Though it won’t be difficult for the Nittany Lions to take down the Golden Flashes, first games are never great. Be it nerves, excitement, or over-compensation in the heat of the moment, but I expect at least a few fumbles, turnovers, sacks, and dropped passes that wouldn’t exist if the two teams played again in five weeks. More importantly, however, there is a 100 percent chance of tailgating, chicken baskets, sunburn, and singing the Alma Mater when the game is over, and that’s a prediction everyone will be happy to see come true.