Penn State vs. Kent State Preview
After suffering their first lost of the season, the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-1) return to Beaver Stadium this Saturday for the third week in a row when they take on the Kent State Golden Flashes (1-2).
The Nittany Lions are looking to bounce back after a 34-31 loss to the UCF Knights (3-0). Penn State was down 31-17 in the 4th quarter but rallied back to a 34-31 deficit, with 2:51 to play in the ball game. However UCF ran out the clock and sealed Penn State’s fate. For the Golden Flashes, LSU simply overpowered them in their game last week as the Tigers scored 45 points to Kent State’s 13.
Saturday will be the 4th time these two teams meet. Kent State has never beaten Penn State and the last time these two teams played was in 2010 when Penn State shut out Kent State 24-0.
However this Kent State team might be different than the other Kent State teams. The Golden Flashes had their first winning season last year since 1987, so this match up with Kent State is no walk in the park.
Saturday needs to be the day that Penn State’s defense steps it up. UCF never trailed all game and running back Storm Johnson had a career day, rushing for 117 yards and a touchdown reception. The D-line needs to generate pressure and the secondary cannot give up big plays. UCF’s quarterback Blake Bortles wasn’t sacked all game and threw three touchdown passes with one interception.
As for the offense, it should try and have the same success that it’s had all season. Running back Zach Zwinak has rushed for 232 yards and five touchdowns while quarterback Christian Hackenberg has a 71.7% completion percentage, 851 passing yards and thrown for four touchdowns. Wide receiver Allen Robinson has also topped 100 yards receiving in three straight games. However, turnovers have plagued Penn State as it has turned the ball over seven times in three games. A minus-3 turnover differential can ruin a team.
Kent State’s defense has struggled for two straight weeks as they’ve given up more then 569 yards and 40 points in two consecutive games. In the game against LSU the Golden Flashes trailed for the whole game. What seems to be their problem is that they can’t stop the run. LSU ran for over 300 yards against them and as of press time, Kent State is ranked 93rd in points against.
The Kent State offense isn’t having any more success then its defense despite freshman quarterback Colin Reardon throwing for four touchdowns and zero interceptions thus far. He loves throwing to wide receiver Chris Humphreys who has caught 13 pass for 190 yards and two touchdowns. KSU heavily relies on its running game that’s only been averaging 3.3 yards per carry. The offense has only scored six total touchdowns and it’s total offense ranks just 110th in points scored.
If Kent State loses they will match their regular season loss total from last year, in just four weeks. What Kent State can rally around is the fact that in their last nine road games they are 7-2. Penn State is only 6-3 in its last nine home games. However all seven wins that Kent State had on the road were during last years magical season and not one of them came at the expense of a Big Ten team.
Listen to Kent State face off with Penn State Saturday Sept. 21st at 3:30 p.m. on ComRadio.
Michael Sanders is a freshman in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.