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Penn State Football Predicitons 2020

Written by Ben Pekay

Sept. 5 Kent State- Win

Sept. 12 @ Virginia Tech- Win

Sept. 19 San Jose State-Win

Sept. 26 Northwestern-Win

Oct. 3 @ Michigan-Win

Oct. 17 Iowa- Win

Oct. 24 Ohio State (White Out) - Loss

Oct. 31 @ Indiana- Loss

Nov. 7 @ Nebraska-Win

Nov. 14 Michigan State-Win

Nov. 21 Maryland-Win

Nov. 28 @ Rutgers-Win

Record: 10-2

The 2020 Penn State football season is College Football Playoff or bust. Last year, Penn State went 11-2, beat Memphis in the Cotton Bowl 53-39, and were one win away from the Big Ten Championship. Penn State has a new offensive coordinator named Kirk Ciarrocca. Ciarrocca was Minnesota's offensive coordinator last year. Penn State returns Sean Clifford who was very solid last year and will only get better with time. Kirk Ciarrocca will help Clifford develop in the passing game. Penn State also returns Tight End Pat Freiermuth who had 507 yards and 7 touchdowns last year and is an excellent pass blocker. Penn State loses Wide Receiver, KJ Hamler, to the NFL draft, but returns Jahan Dotson who had 488 yards and 5 touchdowns last year. He is poised for an even better 2020 season. Penn State also returns 4/5 offensive lineman. The Penn State offense will be very dangerous this year. Penn State is more questionable on defense. They only return five starters, but they have a lot of talent on the defense. Penn State returns Linebacker Micah Parsons who had 109 tackles and 5 sacks last year who is arguably one of the best linebackers in the country. They also return Defensive End Shaka Toney who had 40 tackles last year and 6.5 sacks. He is poised for a breakout year. The Penn State defense is very talented and is poised for a strong year.

Last year, Kent State went 7-6 and won the Frisco Bowl. Kent State returns Dustin Crum who threw for 2,622 yards and 20 touchdowns. Penn State will blow out Kent State because of the talent on their team and the play of Sean Clifford. Next is a tough away game for Penn State against Virginia Tech. Some people say Virginia Tech is going to be good this year and have a good shot to upset Penn State. This is because their Quarterback Hendon Hooker had an excellent 2019. He threw for 1,555 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Hooker is good but he doesn't have any wide receivers around him. The Hokies lost 3 of their receivers to the transfer portal including Damon Hazelton who transferred to Missouri who caught 8 touchdowns. The Hokies return 10 starters on defense including Caleb Farley who was on the 2019 First-Team All-ACC. This will be a challenging game for Penn State, but they will prevail because the Penn State defense will stop Virginia Tech’s offense. Next for Penn State is San Jose State who went 5-7 last year. Penn State should easily win this game because of the talent on their team.

Next is Penn State’s four hardest games of the season. They face Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, and Indiana. Penn State will come out of these games in prime position to make the playoff or think about next year. First they play Michigan on the road. Last year, Penn State beat Michigan in the White Out game 28-21. Michigan’s starting quarterback will probably be Dylan McCaffery. He is a big threat running the ball but is very prone to turnovers. Michigan also returns Nico Collins and Zach Charbonnet who both had a big role on the offense last year. Michigan’s defense will also be solid this year, but they have some holes in their secondary with Lavert Hill and Josh Metellus leaving. Penn State will win this game because Dylan McCaffrey will be prone to turnovers and Michigan's defense will be vulnerable to the big play. Before Iowa, Penn State has a bye week which will allow them to prepare for both Iowa and Ohio State. Iowa has a new starting quarterback in Spencer Petras who studied behind Nate Stanely for 2 years, and they return their top five wide receivers including Ihmir Smith-Marsette who caught 5 touchdowns and had a total of 722 yards last year. On defense, Iowa lost second-round pick AJ Epenesa. Iowa defense is always solid and will be able to replace the hole left by AJ Epenesa. This game will be very close and is a trap game for Penn State. Penn State will win this game on a game-winning drive or kick. Sean Clifford will have a big performance and lead the Nittany Lions to victory.

Next up is arguably the biggest college football game of the year. This game will probably decide the Big Ten and maybe a preview of the National Championship. Ohio State is coming off an undefeated regular season and a heartbreaking loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff. In Ryan Day's second season, Ohio State returns preseason Heisman candidate Quarterback Justin Fields who threw for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns. Ohio State also returns Wide Receiver Chris Olave who caught 12 touchdowns last year and had 848 total yards. Ohio State also returns 3 offensive linemen. Ohio State lost Chase Young and Jeff Okudah to the NFL draft, but has plenty of talent to replace them. Ohio State returns Cornerback Shaun Wade who had 25 tackles last year and 8 pass deflections. He is probably a future first-round pick. They also return Defensive End Zach Harrison who had 24 tackles last year and 3.5 sacks. With Chase Young gone, Zach Harrison will have a much bigger role on the defense. This might be the most talented team Ohio State has ever rolled out. This game is also a White Out game which is the most insane atmosphere in all of college football. In the last four White Out games, Penn State is 3-1 with a loss coming to Ohio State in 2018. It is a challenge for any team to come into a White Out game and win. Ohio State will do just this. They have the talent on both offense and defense to match Penn State. Ohio State will prevail because of a big game from Justin Fields and the other stars on Ohio State. I expect this game to be very close and it could come down to a game-winning kick. This game is a toss-up and any team can win.

After Ohio State is Indiana. This is a trap game. Indiana’ Starting quarterback is Michael Penix who threw for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 6 games last year. Penix is very talented and will be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten next year. Indiana returns Wide Receiver Whop Philyor who caught 5 touchdowns and had 1,002 yards. Throughout the offense they have a lot of talent. On the defensive end, Indiana returns leading tackler Michah McFadden who had 60 tackles last year. They also return Jerome Johnson who had 5 sacks last year. This unit will be vastly improved. They will beat Penn State because after a very tough Ohio State game last week Penn State will be banged up and underprepared for a very talented Indiana team. This game is also in Indiana. This game will come down to a last-second field goal or a game-winning drive.

Next up is Penn State’s easiest part of the schedule. They face Nebraska, Michigan State, Maryland, and Rutgers. They will win all of these games. First is Nebraska. Nebraska’s starting quarterback will probably be Adrian Martinez who threw for 1,956 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He will be better this year but still, have a problem with interceptions. Nebraska also has few weapons around Martinez. Nebraska's defense is okay but not anything special. Penn State will easily be able to handle Nebraska because of the solid play of their defense. Next up is Michigan State. This is a rebuilding year for Michigan State. Mel Tucker is replacing Mark Dantonio. They also lost a lot of their top players to the NFL draft. Michigan State’s Starting Quarterback will probably be Rocky Lombardi who was a backup to Brian Lewerke for the last two years. He will be decent but not great. Michigan State’s defense will struggle throughout the season because a lot of their starters are inexperienced. Penn State will be able to win easily because of the talent on their team and the poor play of Michigan State’s offense. Next up is Maryland. They lost their best player, Anothony McFarland Jr. to the NFL draft. Maryland's starting quarterback is anyone’s guess. It could be Josh Jackson who was the starter last year, or Taulia Tagavolia who just transferred from Alabama. On the defensive end, they have a lot of inexperienced players who will struggle throughout the season. Penn State will easily handle Maryland because of their talent on both ends of the ball and the struggle of Maryland’s quarterback play. Next up for Penn State is Rutgers. Well, everyone knows about Rutgers.

This season has a lot of potential for Penn State. They could go undefeated and win the Big Ten, losing 4 games, or somewhere in between. I think the Nittany Lions will have two losses and maybe have a berth in the Rose Bowl or another New Year's bowl.

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