Penn State vs. San Diego State Preview

Story posted September 24, 2015 in CommRadio, Sports by Jack Milewski

Coming off of the best performance of the early season, Penn State will look to continue their winning ways against a San Diego State team that has never visited Beaver Stadium before. The Nittany Lions’ 28-­3 victory over Big Ten rival Rutgers couldn’t have come at a better time for the team, as, despite their 1-­1 record, they desperately needed a big win. Now, headed into another non­conference matchup, the Nittany Lions look to continue improving on their recent successes.

"I'm actually really pleased with how we're playing as a team right now," said Coach James Franklin in his weekly presser. "I thought that game on Saturday was probably the most complete football game we've played since we've been here. Now, have we played better on defense? Yes. Have we played better on offense? Yes. Have we played better on special teams? Maybe not. But all three phases together, I thought we played great team football at this point where we're at as a program."

The Nittany Lions did play arguably their best game in all three phases of the ball. On offense it was once again Saquon Barkley who stole the show. The true freshman rushed for 195 yards and two scores to follow up his 121­yard performance. Akeel Lynch also contributed over 100 yards on the ground. The offensive line opened up multiple holes for the running backs and also created time in the pocket for Christian Hackenberg. On defense, the team limited Rutgers in all facets of the game and their special teams, led by punter Chris Gulla, helped control the field position battle.

The Nittany Lions gave Hackenberg more control of the offense than he has had in previous games, and it showed as the quarterback audibled multiple times when he recognized Rutgers was blitzing. Hackenberg will probably have similar control this weekend against San Diego State and their “chaos” defense.

"They play what I would call a chaos defense. Anybody ever see those defenses where they don't even lineup, they just kind of walk around and do all those things," Franklin said. "They blitz from every angle possible. So we're going to have to continue calling and managing the game the way we are right now."

On offense, the Aztecs are averaging 23.7 points per game, more than Penn State has this season. The team has a balanced offense, splitting most of their 311 yards per game evenly between running and passing. Penn State will have to key in on quarterback Maxwell Smith and try to force the somewhat injury­prone quarterback into more turnovers. Also, on the ground, Penn State will look to stop Donnel Pumphrey who has rushed for 249 yards and two scores so far this year.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Beaver Stadium. ComRadio will have coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. with the ComRadio Football Pregame Show.

Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email