Penn St Nittany Lions 2023 College Football Preview
July 26, 2023
Record – 11-2
ATS – 9-3-1
The Nittany Lions had a fine season as they only lost two games all year and those came vs the mighty Buckeyes and Wolverines, a pair of playoff teams. They really caught fire in November and destroyed everyone down the stretch winning their final four regular season games by a combined tally of 165-40. Penn St carried that momentum into the GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL and hammered Utah to end the season (W 35-21).
Penn St Nittany Lions 2023 Outlook
The Nittany Lions had one of the most potent offenses in the country LY as they ranked #3 in the Big Ten in both scoring offense (35.8 PPG) and total offense (434 YPG). Talented youngster Drew Allar finally gets his chance to take over the starting QB role with the departure of veteran Sean Clifford and he’s got a lot of fine weaponry around him. The rushing attack will be electric with the return of their devastating 1-2 combo of Nicholas Singleton (1,061, 6.8!, 12 TD LY) and Kaytron Allen (867, 10 TD). It’s hard to know if Allar has a true game-changer at WR but the WR/TE room is deep with the return of KeAndre Lambert-Smith (16.2), the addition of Kent St transfer WR Dante Cephas (744, 1,240 receiving yards L2Y), and don’t sleep on TE Theo Johnson (16.4, 4 TD). Four starters return up front but they’ll miss starting center JUICE Scruggs who’s off to the NFL. This is still one of the best offenses in the Big Ten, and look out if a legit #1 WR emerges during the season. <grabs popcorn>
Penn St allowed fewer than 20 PPG for the 3rd time in four seasons LY (18.2, #5 Big Ten), dominated vs the pass (#2 pass efficiency D, 12-14 TD to INT), and were true MASTERS OF PENETRATION (43 sacks, #1). This season’s defense might be the best in the Big Ten as they’re loaded with DOODS, particularly in the front seven. The DL is CHOCK FULL of highly-recruited specimens and there are a small handful of legit pass rushers at DE including Demeioun Robinson (5.5 sacks, 10 TFL LY). The LB unit is one of most talented in the nation and are led by #2 tackler and havoc-master Abdul Carter (10.5 TFL, 5 QBH). The secondary loses a pair of starters to the NFL but they’re still really solid at CB and will be an above-average Big Ten unit. Yup, it’s gonna be tough to score on these guys.
Penn St did a good job of finding replacements at PK and punter thru the transfer portal. PK Alex Felkins did fine work at Columbia and punter Riley Thompson (FAU) was one of the best punters in the Group of Five LY (45.4, 41.1). The dangerous Nicholas Singleton is back to handle the KR duties (24.9, TD).
Overall – It looks very manageable. They’ve a VIRTUAL LOCK to go 3-0 in non-conference action as the toughest match-up comes in the opener at home vs West Virginia. The draw from the West is great as they miss Wisconsin and get to face the Hawkeyes at home. For those wondering, the date with Ohio St is on the road and they battle Michigan at home in November.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Rutgers (Nov 18)
This looks like a tough spot for the home favorite as they’ll be coming off the yuuuge game with Michigan and have a battle with Michigan St up next. Rutgers will have a good defense and the weather just might be nasty.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 26
Over 9.5 -145
Under 9.5 +125
This team looks capable of beating Michigan or Ohio St, and if that happens, it seems very unlikely that they lose two other games. The schedule will definitely lend a helping hand.
Penn St has won 11 games in four of the last six (!) full seasons (2016, 2017, 2019, 2022). That’s some impressive stuff, yo.
This could be the year. Penn St has a loaded roster and don’t forget that Ohio St lost their superstar QB and they get to play Michigan at home. There doesn’t appear to be any weakness of note on this squad so the only question is whether or not HC James Franklin can get this team over the hump and into the College Football Playoff. They’re an interesting longshot in the Big Ten and National Championship futures pools. Beware for a potential SURPRISE PACKAGE!