West Virginia and No. 7 Penn State open season with a primetime matchup
West Virginia at No. 7 Penn State, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: Penn State by 20 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Penn State 48-9-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Penn State and West Virginia open in a primetime matchup older generations should remember well. The programs — separated by just 184 miles — played annually from 1947 until 1992 with Penn State winning all but six of those games. An upset in one of the most hostile environments in the country would be a great start for the hopeful Mountaineers, who finished ninth in last year’s 10-team Big 12. The Nittany Lions start the season with a talented and deep roster with lofty aspirations.
West Virginia’s offensive line vs. Penn State’s front seven. The Nittany Lions are stacked at defensive end and linebacker. Ends Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac are longtime standouts while outside linebacker Abdul Carter has great range. The three combined for 31 1/2 tackles for loss and 16 sacks last season. Most of the Mountaineers’ returning experience is up front. They’ll need to keep Penn State’s best disruptors at bay to have their best chance.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Virginia: QB Garrett Greene. The shifty, dual-threat sophomore has just two starts on his resume but has played plenty in relief. He came off the bench and rallied his team to rare win over Oklahoma late last year by running for two scores and throwing for another.
Penn State: QB Drew Allar. All eyes will be on the rocket-armed sophomore who will likely make his first career start. He played sparingly, but solidly as a backup last season. Now he takes over an offense with a pair of gifted tailbacks and a deep receiving corps that includes two do-it-all tight ends.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State RBs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for 25 total touchdowns and 2,587 total yards while Allar completed 35 of 60 passes for 344 yards with four touchdowns in 10 appearances last year. … KeAndre Lambert-Smith is Penn State’s leading returning receiver with 24 catches for 389 yards. … West Virginia RB CJ Donaldson Jr. ran for 526 yards and eight scores in his freshman campaign. … The Mountaineers’ three defensive touchdowns were good for 12th in the country last year.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll