Penn State did it again last week. For the second time this season, the Nittany Lions were trailing late in a game, but thanks to a big drive orchestrated by star sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg, they came out with a big win against a quality opponent. This one was especially impressive, as Rutgers dominated PSU in the trenches all game.
Now, the Nittany Lions host UMass. If you're a PSU fan who thinks the Minutemen will be a pushover, don't be so confident. While UMass is not a good football team, it has given Colorado and Vanderbilt all they could handle in recent weeks. Does that mean UMass will break through this week and win on the road in one of the most hostile stadiums in all of college football? Probably not, but expect the squad to put up a fight all four quarters against the undefeated Nittany Lions.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 20
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Channel: Big Ten Network
Location: Beaver Stadium (State College, PA)
Betting Line: Penn State -27 via 5Dimes
Prediction: It'd be a huge surprise if UMass wins. The Minutemen haven't registered a victory since last October. Penn State's defense is certainly the best that the Minutemen have seen, and it should shut down the UMass offense, which has had some nice moments so far against bad defenses, but isn't exactly explosive.
On the flip side, Hackenberg and his arsenal of wide receivers and tight ends should have a field day against a bad UMass defense. Also look for the Nittany Lions' trio of running backs -- Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak, and Akeel Lynch -- to have a big week, as UMass has been particularly vulnerable against the run this year.
Really, the only question for Penn State this week is whether or not it will cover the rather high line. The Nittany Lions haven't even scored 27 points in a game this year. Still, UMass hasn't held an opponent under 30 points this year. Give us PSU to win and cover the spread.