Preview 2018: Penn State Nittany Lions. Give James Franklin His Due

Preview 2018: Penn State Nittany Lions. Give James Franklin His Due

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Penn State Nittany Lions. Give James Franklin His Due


Best Penn State Offensive Player

QB Trace McSorley, Sr.
If Baker Mayfield could go No. 1 overall, then a 6-0, 198-pound scrapper like McSorley can find a home with an NFL team next season.

He’s got a decent enough arm, and he’s a runner – more than Mayfield, anyway – taking off for close to 500 yards and 11 scores. More than that, he’s clutch, has no problem taking over games, and he’s able to spread the ball around well.

He hit 67% of his passes for 3,570 yards and 28 touchdowns after throwing 29 scoring throws two seasons ago. However, he has to cut down on the picks, giving away 18 over the last two seasons including five in the last two bowl appearances.

2. RB Miles Sanders, Jr.
3. WR Juwan Johnson, Jr.
4. OT Ryan Bates, Jr.
5. RB Ricky Slade, Fr.

Best Penn State Defensive Player

DE Shareef Miller, Sr.
It’s pushing things ahead way too quickly, but don’t be stunned if Micah Parsons turns out to be the team’s best defensive player by the end of the season. He’s not a lock to start in the opener against Appalachian State, but he’s ready to shine right away. Until then, Miller will be the key veteran on a D that has to replace way too many important parts.

The 6-5, 259-pounder might not have the big name, but he’s a tough, consistent player who can get behind the line. He only came up with 37 tackles, but he led the team with five sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and did a great job of generating pressure.

2. LB Micah Parsons, Fr.
3. LB Koa Farmer, Sr.
4. CB Amani Oruwariye, Sr.
5. CB John Reid, Jr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

OT Ryan Bates, Jr.  
It’s not as bad as when James Franklin first took over the program, but the offensive line has been an occasional sore spot over the years, and was rocky way too often last season. It didn’t seem to matter for the Big Ten’s second-best offense, but still, the 29 sacks and 91 tackles for loss allowed were way too many.

Penn State returns a veteran front with enough versatile parts to put the top five players out there, and Bates is the all-star main man to make it all better. He’s a left tackle, but he worked on the right side last year and has the 6-4, 305-pound build and experience to kick inside if needed.

Key Game To The Penn State Season

Ohio State, Sept. 29 
Michigan State has to come to Happy Valley, and so does Wisconsin, but the Michigan game is on the road. Other than that, the rest of the Big Ten schedule should be a breeze, at least without a total gag somewhere along the way.

However, lose to Ohio State in the conference home opener, and there goes any control over the Big Ten Championship destiny. Win, and with a week off to prepare for Michigan State, it’s revenge time with a shot to put a stranglehold on the East.

2017 Penn State Fun Stats

– 1st Quarter Scoring: Penn State 160 – Opponents 23
– Onside Kicks: Opponents 2-for-3 – Penn State 0-for-0
– Penalties: Opponents 80 for 751 yards – Penn State 54 for 490 yards

NEXT: Final Prediction & What Will Happen


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