Appalachian State Mountaineers (0-0) at Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 1, 2018, 3:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Penn State Nittany Lions -23 -- Over/Under: 54.5
The Appalachian State Mountaineers and Penn State Nittany Lions meet Saturday in college football action at Beaver Stadium.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers is averaging 10 wins the last three seasons and will certainly be out to prove a point in this contest in a big atmosphere. Appalachian State has one of the better rushing tandems in the country thanks to Jalin Moore and Marcus Williams, a duo that’s combined for more than 3,600 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns. Wide receiver Dominique Heath comes over from Kansas State and Thomas Hennigan had seven touchdown receptions as a freshman. The main question is Zac Thomas ready to be the full time quarterback with just 10 career pass attempts under his belt? Defensively, the Mountaineers lost a lot of production and their defensive coordinator, but Bryan Brown has been around enough to keep the ship afloat. While this side of the ball will have growing pains, Clifton Duck is a ballhawking cornerback and Tae Hayes has gotten better each of his first three seasons. The Appalachian State Mountaineers aren’t going anywhere in the Sun Belt race and aren’t the type of team a major program can sleep on.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have won 11 games each of the last two seasons and have to start thinking about getting back in that national title conversation. While Saquon Barkley isn’t around anywhere to do the heavy lifting, Trace McSorley is probably the best quarterback in college football and capable of carrying PSU when needed. When you have a quarterback like McSorley, who has thrown for over 7,000 yards and 59 touchdowns, Penn State has a shot to beat any team in the country on any given night. It also doesn’t hurt that Penn State returns four of its five offensive linemen from last season. The flashiness of Barkley is gone, but the Nittany Lions are still going to score truckloads of points this season. Defensively, Penn State will have a lot of new faces and is inexperienced a bit in the secondary, but this team can rush the passer still and Shareef Miller will prove he’s one of the better defensive ends this season. The Penn State Nittany Lions are just as dangerous as they were a year ago and will compete for a spot in the college football playoff.
The Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Nittany Lions are 10-2-2 ATS in their last 14 home games, 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 games overall. The over is 6-1 in Nittany Lions last 7 games overall and the under is 7-2 in Mountaineers last 9 road games.
The Penn State Nittany Lions won't miss a beat with Barkley gone, as the offense will still score points and the defense has enough up front to help create balance. Penn State will be in the college football playoff convo all season long. The problem is the Appalachian State Mountaineers aren't some pushover that should be crapped on by oddsmakers. The Mountaineers have really good players on both sides of the ball and is led by one of the better running back duos in the country that few have heard of. The key to pulling off an upset is cntrolling the clock and keeping the game close, and the Mountaineers can do that. Not to mention PSU has a date with rival Pittsburgh next week, creating a possible lookahead spot. Give me the points.