Penn State plays football tonight.
Here are our staff’s predictions for Penn State’s season and home opener against West Virginia.
Jarrod Prugar: It’s the first game of the season and I don’t think it’s going to be as competitive as last season’s opener against Purdue was. It’s going to be the Drew Allar show in prime time on Saturday night and the offense will shine with a solid performance from the defense as well.
PSU 49, WVU 13
Here ya go.
“There’s one game all year I’m not giving WVU a chance on and it’s this one. James Franklin takes care of business at home against unranked opponents. And when I say he takes care of business, he takes care of business.
Excluding the COVID 2020 season, since 2016 Penn State has only lost to two unranked teams at home in Michigan State (2017) and Illinois (2018). In fact using that same criteria, only four have finished within one score of Penn State at home. Those were Temple (2016), Purdue (2016), Appalachian State (2018) and Pittsburgh (2019).
This is going to be a bloodbath. WVU is expected to be a bottom feeder of the Big 12 while PSU is a borderline CFP team. I’ve seen nothing that leads me to disagree with either of those expectations and after this week, even the most homer of WVU fans will have to admit how far this program is from being competitive at a national level.
It may take until the second quarter for PSU to pull away given that it’s week one. But they’ll pull away and win easily, only giving up some garbage time points with their backups in the game.
PSU 45, WVU 17
Brandon Walker: In a game where everyone is expecting a blowout in favor of the home team, if I were a betting man I could take West Virginia to cover, but not by much.
The reason for that is because it is the first game of the season and Drew Allan is expected to make his first career start. In believe that he will fight through initial jitters, but he will have a fine game. I believe that Penn State’s defense and its running game will wear down the Mountaineers as they will cruise to a decisive victory.
PSU 34, WVU 16.
Mike Asti, WVSportsNow: In order for Neal Brown to cool off his hot seat, he needs to win. No excuse of a difficult schedule or anything else, no matter legitimacy, will matter. But as Brown has said about facing Penn State at Beaver Stadium to open the season, “we’re not easing into this thing.”
I do think the 2023 Mountaineers have a chance to be better than the 2022 version, but it’s very possible WVU can play well and still lose to this Penn State team.
PSU 36, WVU 17
Me: This will be somewhere between a bloodbath and a nail-biter. Because it’s Week 1 and Penn State won’t be what it is come mid-October and also because West Virginia can run the ball well enough to chew clock and, frankly, not get embarrassed, I don’t see this game being the romp that others are projecting. But, let’s be real, West Virginia has three chances of winning this game: Slim, none and aliens abducting 14 of Penn State’s 22 starters.
It’s just not going to happen. So while I don’t see this as a “statement game” for Penn State, I think the night will be comfortable enough for Penn State fans not to have to take any heart pills to calm down.
Remember the 33-14 win over Pitt in 2017? I’m expecting something like that.
PSU 34, WVU 17