Kent St. vs. Penn St. Prediction
Should Penn State have any troubles in their season opener on Saturday when they host Kent State at 3:30PM ET?
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Penn State is favored at home on Saturday, as the Nittany Lions are getting odds of -21.5 points against Kent State. The over/under total for the contest has been set at 45 points. These two last met in 2013 with Penn State picking up a 34-0 win.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 7-6 record last year where it lost its last four games of the year. Penn State played four out-of-conference games in 2015 and didn’t win by 22 points in any of them. Penn State was carried by its defense, which held opponents to 324 yards and 21.7 points per game last year. The offense really struggled, averaging only 349 yards and 23.2 points per contest. The big factor now is replacing Christian Hackenberg under center and also protecting his replacement, Trace McSorley. Hackenburg was hit early and often last season. McSorley will need improved line play if he can take the offense to another level. Chris Godwin returns at WR to help McSorley. He caught 69 passes for 1,101 yards and five scores. Also back is Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 1,076 yards and seven scores as a freshman.
Kent State was 3-9 last season. The Golden Flashes had one of the worst offenses in the nation last year, ranking 127th in yards at just 271 per game. They also averaged just 13.1 points per contest. Even with returning talent, the Flashes don’t have anyone back that really made a great impact for them on offense last season. George Bollas is the QB despite struggling last season. He was 94 of 167 passing for 756 yards with only 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. It will be up to him, as a sophomore, to step up this season if Kent State is to push for a bowl.
This game could be ugly. It’s unclear what to expect from either offense, but the defensive units appear to be the better groups for both squads. Penn State shouldn’t have much trouble stopping the Flashes, but will they be able to move the ball with a new QB? McSorley could struggle, but Godwin and Barkley are still playmakers that should help the Nittany Lions find the end zone. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Penn State shutout Kent State, which makes covering that much easier.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: PENN STATE -21.5