College Football News Preview 2020: Penn State Nittany Lions Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Penn State Nittany Lions Offense
It really would be nice if the passing game could be more accurate. It was effective with Sean Clifford at the helm, but in a day and age when hitting 60% of throws is just okay, completing 58.8% of throws isn’t good enough.
But that’s been Penn State. Before Clifford, Trace McSorley was a gamer, but he wasn’t all that accurate – the Nittany Lion offense only hit 60% or more once in the last ten years.
The downfield plays were there under Clifford, and there weren’t that many problems on third downs, but take the completion percentage to at least a pedestrian 63ish% on a consistent basis, and things might be even smoother for an already good offense.
Biggest Key To The Penn State Nittany Lions Defense
Don’t allow a lot of points. Duh … that’s sort of the whole point of playing defense. However, over the last four years under James Franklin, good things happen when his defenses keep teams under 27 points.
The Nittany Lions are 31-1 when allowing fewer than 27 points – only losing 21-17 to Michigan State in 2018. When allowing 27 or more, they’re 9-10.
So how does the defense keep the score low? Simple – get off the field.
Time of possession hasn’t meant a whole lot to Penn State over the years, but that means the defense can’t be taxed by giving up long drives. The defense was just okay on third down stops overall, but when it allowed teams to convert fewer than 40% of their chances, the team was 6-0, and almost always with ease.
Key Penn State Nittany Lions Player To A Successful Season
WR Jahan Dotson, Jr.
The Penn State receiving corps is fine. There’s a whole lot of talent ready to rise up and rock, but there’s not a lot of experience with so many of the parts from last year gone.
The offense spreads it around to the backs just fine, and TE Pat Freiermuth is special, but a No. 1 wideout has to emerge with KJ Hamler done.
The 5-11, 184-pound Dotson was terrific as a big play threat – catching 27 passes for 488 yards and five scores – but he only made more than three grabs once. He’s too fast to not keep using as a take-the-top-off-a-D guy, but he’s also the most experienced weapon of the bunch.
Key Game To The Penn State Nittany Lions Season
Ohio State, Oct. 24
If this seems too obvious, it’s because it is – it would take something amazing for Penn State to play for the Big Ten title if it can’t get by Ohio State at home.
Outside of the date at Michigan, the Nittany Lions should be favored in every game but the one on October 24th. Beat the Wolverines, take out the Buckeyes a few weeks later, and the Big Ten East should be all but won.
– Penn State Nittany Lions Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Penn State Fun Stats
– First Quarter Scoring: Penn State 124 – Opponents 54
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:06 – Penn State 27:54
– Fumbles: Opponents 27 (lost 12) – Penn State 16 (lost 5)