Kent State vs. Penn State Pick & Prediction
Kent State (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
When: Saturday, September 15th, 12:00pm ET
Where: Beaver Stadium- University Park, PA
By: Bob Clark, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: KSU +35/PSU-35 (Bookmaker)
PREVIEW: This Saturday at 12:00pm, the Kent State Golden Flashes from the MAC will travel to University Park to take on the eleventh ranked Penn State Nittany Lions from the Big Ten. This will be just the sixth meeting between these schools all time dating back to 1965. Penn State is a perfect 5-0 in the series with their last win coming back in 2013. Most experts see this game as being a cupcake and a blowout, but one thing we have learned already this year is that anything is possible.
As of Tuesday night, the Penn State Nittany Lions were favored by 35 over the Golden Flashes and that has not really moved at all. The early public action is just about half and half with 56% of the bettors taking Penn State to cover and the other 46% hoping that Kent State can keep it interesting. In the early season so far, Kent State is 2-0 against the spread and Penn State is 1-1 due to being nearly upset by App State in week one. The line of 35 points is one that I do not see moving much in most books. With the nearly 50/50 split among the public, the line seems about right as is.
DID PENN STATE LEARN THEIR LESSON? If week ones overtime win against Appalachian State did not scare the Nittany Lions, nothing will. To be honest, Penn State SHOULD HAVE lost that game. Late heroics helped them force overtime but App State stood with them blow for blow. The Penn State defense allowed the Mountaineers to rack up over 400 yards of total offense and 38 points in a game they were favored by more than three touchdowns. In week two however, we saw the Penn State that we expected. Against in-state rival Pittsburgh, Penn State went OFF. The Nittany Lions beat down Pitt 51-6 and never really had a doubt. This was a good win for Penn State seeing as how the last few seasons, Pitt had been a thorn in their side, but they took care of business this week. BUT… here we are again in a boring, no-hype, easy win game for Penn State. Will they roll over again or did they learn from App State how to handle business even in games that are virtually meaningless?
WHAT CAN KENT STATE DO? To win this game, Kent State will not only need to play the perfect game, but they need Penn State to slack or at least make some mistakes of their own. One thing that Penn State has not done well in their first two games is stop the run. Against App State, the Nittany Lions allowed 159 yards and nearly 4.5 yards per carry. Even in their win over Pitt, Penn State gave up 245 on the ground including 119 to Qadree Ollison alone. This is a must on Saturday for the Golden Wave. If they can establish a run game and somewhat control the tempo then there is a small, very very small chance of the upset. Not only must Kent State run the ball well, they MUST stop Penn State’s attack. The loss of Saquon Barkley has shown in the Penn State offense so far. They have not been as explosive in the run game and are having to grind out drives more than years past. If Kent State can cause some long third downs and force Penn State to make plays, things could get interesting. Again though, Penn State on paper is much more talented and this task will not be an easy one.
THE VERDICT: I just cannot see Penn State underperforming again against a lesser opponent. I think Kent State will keep this game interesting through a quarter or so, but by halftime, Penn State will have made a statement that the game is over. I look for a 23-10 type first half but as the game winds down, I like Penn State to win something like 48-10. I hate huge point spreads but in this case, I would have to lean Penn State at home.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS MINUS THE POINTS AT HOME!