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Staff Predictions: No. 7 Penn State vs. West Virginia

It’s almost time to head back to Beaver Stadium, folks.

Penn State opens its season against West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, in Beaver Stadium in its first matchup with the Mountaineers since 1992. The Nittany Lions are heavily favored to win the contest, and our staffers unanimously picked James Franklin’s team to get the job done.

Matt Brown (0-0): Penn State 35, West Virginia 17

A home opener in prime time is just what the doctor ordered. Even though Penn State is a 20.5-point favorite versus the Mountaineers, I think this game will be closer than many think.

I see Drew Allar struggling in the first half of his debut as the expected starter, but luckily Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen will both score early to keep the game tied at half. After some halftime adjustments, Allar will find his rhythm and Penn State will beat West Virginia for its first win of the year.

Brendan Wagner (0-0): Penn State 21, West Virginia 0

Penn State’s offense will get off to a slow start in week one as starting quarterback Drew Allar will work to find his footing in the pocket.  However, running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen will capitalize on the play of one of the best defensive units in the country and help hand the Nittany Lions a lopsided win to start the season.

Brady Miller (0-0): Penn State 45, West Virginia 7

It’s the first game of the season, which means every team is full of hope. West Virginia will give Penn State its best shot, but it won’t be nearly enough.

The Nittany Lions will open the season on fire. Drew Allar will shine and throw multiple touchdowns, giving Penn State fans a reason to be optimistic.

I have stated how special the Nittany Lions’ defense is, and I expect them to prove it. West Virginia may get a first-half score, but once the defense has time to settle in, yards will be very hard to come by for the Mountaineers.

Aidan Conrad (0-0): Penn State 38, West Virginia 10

I think Penn State will cruise past West Virginia to earn its first win of the season on Saturday.

The Nittany Lions’ strong run game will show in prime time and the weak passing coverage from the Mountaineers will allow Penn State’s passing attack to thrive early in the season.

Rico Gore (0-0): Penn State 38, West Virginia 9

West Virginia is just lousy. It isn’t a matter of if Penn State wins, it’s a matter of how bad it’s going to be.

However, this game will be about more than just the final score. I believe we will get to see how good of a team Penn State can be even when playing a school like West Virginia.

Nolan Wick (0-0): Penn State 35, West Virginia 10

Unlike Rico, I’m not going to call West Virginia lousy. Even though they haven’t been that good recently, the Mountaineers are still a respectable Big 12 team that pulls off the occasional upset.

However, such a feat will not occur on Saturday night. Penn State is better in every category, albeit on paper. As if being the underdog wasn’t tough enough, Beaver Stadium’s raucous prime-time atmosphere will make things even harder for Neal Brown’s squad.

I don’t see Penn State having a huge problem getting past its first opponent of the season. The ground game will be used often to alleviate any pressure off Drew Allar’s shoulders, while Manny Diaz’s defense will easily handle matters on the other side of the ball.

CJ Gill (0-0): Penn State 45, West Virginia 13

Under the bright prime-time lights, the Nittany Lions will shine and stomp the Mountaineers. James Franklin and Co. will be firing on all cylinders early, dominating both sides of the ball while putting the game away in the first half.

I expect Theo Johnson to have a big day on offense and catch two touchdowns. Along with the offense, the defense line will wreak havoc all game long. The second half could see a lot of second-string players seeing extensive game action.

Joe Lister (0-0): Penn State 38, West Virginia 13

Good teams win. Great teams cover.

Penn State’s set up to dominate West Virginia on Saturday. Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen have only gotten bigger, faster, and stronger over the offseason. The backfield is sitting behind a talented offensive line, even with the recent loss of Landon Tengwall. Kalen King, Abdul Carter, and the rest of the defense is one of the nation’s best. And of course, everyone loves Drew Allar.

The Nittany Lions have a chance to open the season with a statement win on Saturday. A 25-point victory over a Power Five school is a great way to introduce yourself to college football.

CJ Doebler (0-0): Penn State 42, West Virginia 17

Penn State opens as 20.5-point favorites over the Mountaineers, and I think the Nittany Lions will cover.

I’m expecting the blue and white to come out firing on all cylinders and quickly take control of the game. Even if Drew Allar comes out slow and the offense needs a few drives to find its rhythm, I think the defense will pick up the slack and keep West Virginia out of the end zone until the offense is ready to strike.

Keeley Lamm (0-0): Penn State 41, West Virginia 14

I’ll never bet against the Nittany Lions.

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