College Football News Preview 2020: Penn State Nittany Lions

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Preview 2020: Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State

College Football News Preview 2020: Penn State Nittany Lions

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College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Penn State Nittany Lions season with what you need to know.


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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Schedule Analysis
– Penn State Previews 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2019 Record: 11-2 overall, 7-2 in Big Ten
Head Coach: James Franklin, 7th year, 56-23
2019 CFN Final Opinion Ranking: 9
2019 CFN Final Season Formula Ranking: 5
2019 CFN Preview Ranking: 17

No one knows what’s going to happen to the 2020 college football season. We’ll take a general look at where each team stands – doing it without spring ball to go by – while crossing our fingers that we’ll all have some well-deserved fun this fall. Hoping you and yours are safe and healthy.

5. College Football News Preview 2020: Penn State Nittany Lions Offense 3 Things To Know

– The offense needs to be more consistent and it has to do even more. It scored more points than the 2018 version, but 79 of them came in the opener against Idaho, 59 came against a Maryland team that struggled to do anything right in the loss, and 53 came against a Memphis D that was a mere rumor. The team scored fewer than 30 points in seven of the last 11 games.

It starts with the return of senior Sean Clifford, who pulled off a little bit of a shocker before last season by rising up and taking the starting quarterback gig, and then came up with a nice season throwing for 2,654 yards and 23 touchdowns with just seven picks.

A decent runner, he scored five touchdowns on the ground, but his real worth was his ability to hit the big play. He averaged 8.3 yards per pass, Trace McSorley averaged seven yards a throw the year before. Junior Will Levis and sophomore Ta’Quan Robinson are back as the backups.


CFN in 60 Video: Penn State Nittany Lions Preview


Where are the wide receivers? There’s talent, there’s just not a lot of experience. Pat Freiermuth is one of the nation’s best tight ends, and junior Jahan Dotson is a nice deep threat who finished third on the team with 27 catches with five scores, averaging over 18 yards per catch.

Justin Shorter transferred to Florida, KJ Hamler is now a Denver Bronco, and the No. 2 returning wide receiver – junior Daniel George – caught just nine passes.

The offensive line was good against the mediocre, and it struggled throughout the year at keeping defense out of the backfield – Penn State was 11th in the Big Ten in sacks allowed – but it was terrific for the ground game.

Tackle Will Fries and center Michal Menet are All-Big Ten-caliber blockers, and two other starters are back to a large group that should be better. Now the ground game that finished fourth in the Big Ten, but has the potential to be stronger.

Former super-recruit Ricky Slade is taking off to Old Dominion through the transfer portal, but leading rusher Journey Brown and 223-pound sophomore thumper Noah Cain are back. They combined for 20 rushing touchdowns, and 2019 star recruit Devyn Ford should get even more work.

NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Penn State Nittany Lions Defense 3 Things To Know

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