Penn State at Pittsburgh
Time: 7 PM CT
Spread: PSU -7.5
The No. 13 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions survived a Week 1 scare against Appalachian State, winning 45-38. The narrow victory cost PSU a few spots in the AP ranking, but a win is a win, as the dictum runs. This week the Nittany Lions travel to face Pitt at 7 PM (CT) on ABC. PSU is 7.5-point favorites in a game with an over/under set at 55 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Penn State needed an Overtime period to knock off App State last week, as Amani Oruwariye saved the day with an interception pass in the end zone to seal it up for Penn State. 11years ago the Mountaineers had pulled just this huge upset, but the Nittany Lions dodged it in 2018. Trace McSorley threw 20 of 35 for 229 yards and a TD, but he managed just 6.5 yards per reception, and only a few of his targets were up to hauling in the long ones. Among those were KJ Hamler, who caught three passes for 67 yards, including a 46-yard catch while scoring a TD. Juwan Johnson had six catches for 67 yards and Jonathan Holland had two for 36, but outside of the trio, McSorley threw a ton of short passes that helped account for the paltry completion yard-per-catch average.
Miles Sanders had a nice day at running back, rushing for 91 yards on 19 carries along with two TDs. McSorley was a typical dual-threat from the pocket, rushing for 53 yards on 12 attempts with two TDs of his won. The Nittany Lions had five rushing TDs in the game, with Ricky Slade contributing the other.
Defensively, it was Jan Scott and Nick Scott who did most of the damage, combining for 20 tackles between them, and Scott came up with a big sack and another tackle-for-loss. Penn State had six tackles for loss and App State was not as strong on the pressure, one of the major differences in what allowed PSU to escape with the victory.
Pitt won its week 1 matchup against Albany 33-7. The Panthers have a tough upcoming schedule, though, so victory is essentially more important this week. Following this matchup against PSU, the Panthers will face a much-improved Georgia Tech team, North Carolina, and then No. 19 ranked UCF on the 29th of Sept.
Kenny Pickett threw 16 of 22 in the Week 1 win, but he did throw an interception with his two TD passes. The Pitt rush attack was very effective though, averaging 6.4 yards per rush on 37 attempts for 238 total yards via the ground. Maurice French and Pickett scored the two rushing TDs, while Quadree Ollison led the way with 73 yards total on seven carries, including a 20-yard rush. WR Rafael Araujo-Lopes caught three passes for 50 yards while scoring both the Pitt receiving TDs. The Panthers have a great balanced attack, but its going to need Pickett to avoid the costly picks in week 2 to have a chance against PSU. It will require nearly flawless execution on the part of Pitt to pull this much-needed upset as it faces a tough schedule in 2018.