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Smeltzer: 3 Things Penn State Fans Should Look for Against Central Michigan

Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics: Manny Diaz

Penn State is going to beat Central Michigan Saturday.

So this won’t be a traditional “three keys to victory” article.

As long as the Nittany Lions show up to Beaver Stadium Saturday morning, they’ll be ok.

Even if Penn State pounds Central Michigan they way it should as a 27.5-point favorite (per FanDuel Sportsbook), there are still things that Penn State fans should look for aside from the result.

Here are three of those things.


Central Michigan hasn’t been good this season.

But the Chippewas have put up plenty of points.

Through three games, Central Michigan averages 33 points, and running back Lew Nichols III has five touchdowns.

Coordinator Manny Diaz’s first defense has played well through the first quarter of the season, and its best performance was its most recent.

At Auburn, Penn State held the Tigers to 12 points— just one touchdown— and came up with four turnovers.

Penn State will almost certainly win this week but if the defense can keep its momentum from Auburn and hold Central Michigan to under 20 points, fans will feel much better about the performance.


Even after coach James Franklin surprisingly named true freshman Drew Allar the No. 2 quarterback days before Penn State’s season opener at Purdue, fans wouldn’t have expected Allar to play in the team’s first four games.

If Penn State does what its expected to do Saturday, Allar will make his fourth appearance.

In the team’s 46-10 Week 2 win over Ohio, Franklin planned to play Allar in the first half but ended up going to him minutes into the third quarter.

Penn State led Ohio by 19 at halftime, and “only” led by 12 late in the first half. If it can get out to a bigger first-half lead, we might see Allar enter earlier than we did in the first three games.


Coming into the season, Penn State fans were begging for a player to eclipse 100 yards during a game since it didn’t happen at all in 2021.

They didn’t have to beg for long. In the season’s second game, Singleton, a true freshman stud, rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries against Ohio.

Singleton eclipsed the century mark again the next week at Auburn, again scoring two touchdowns on 10 carries and this time ending with 124 yards.

The former five-star recruit from Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, Pennsylvania, has— pardon the cliche— gotten better every week thus far, and has a chance to continue that trend this week.

So why not go off for 200 yards or more?

No Penn State running back has reached 200 since Journey Brown did it in the team’s Cotton Bowl win over Memphis at the end of the 2019 season. Singleton fell just 21 shy of that mark the first time he went up against a MAC defense, so even if the game is lopsided enough to where Singleton is pulled before the fourth quarter, going for 200 is attainable.


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