Penn State vs. Auburn Preview
All eyes will be on Beaver Stadium Saturday under the lights as No. 10 Penn State charges into its second home game of the season as five-point favorites against the No. 22 Auburn Tigers for a 7:30 p.m. showdown.
Auburn’s trip to Happy Valley marks its first Big Ten road game since 1931, which is two years prior to when the SEC Conference was founded.
On the offensive side, Auburn will look to junior quarterback Bo Nix to make moves against Penn State’s defense early in the matchup. Nix helped propel Auburn to outscore Akron and Alabama State by a wide margin in its first two weeks of the season.
During the 62-0 blowout against Alabama State, Nix threw two touchdowns for 108 yards, but freshman running back Jarquez Hunter burned the turf with a season-high 147 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
Penn State’s front seven will target Hunter, as well as sophomore running back Tank Bigsby, as key players to keep at bay as Auburn’s running game threatens to make a statement on the road.
Auburn will miss the orange and blue in the stands at Jordan-Hare Stadium and will instead be thrust into the lion’s den of Penn State’s White Out game in primetime.
The crowd is expected to roar loud and proud in celebration of the White Out returning to Happy Valley. In 2019 during the White Out game against the University of Michigan, the avalanche of sound resonating in Beaver Stadium forced the Wolverines to call a timeout before the first play of the game.
During post-practice media availability on Wednesday, James Franklin highlighted senior defensive tackle PJ Mustipher as a valuable weapon on Penn State’s defensive core ahead of Saturday’s game.
“I think his wrestling background has been huge for him, his mental and physical toughness is phenomenal,” Franklin said. “He’s got a great motor, he understands leverage, I love him. I’m a huge fan of PJ’s.”
Mustipher’s experience playing the 2019 White Out makes him a veteran to look to for players who have yet to experience the greatest show in sports, according to FanNation.
The anticipated matchup caught the attention of ESPN’s College GameDay, which returned to Old Main Lawn for pregame coverage Saturday morning.
Penn State is the only school to host College GameDay for five consecutive years.
Penn State historically disappoints against SEC teams, having lost five straight games to SEC conference opponents. However, in the blue and white’s last 12 packed-stadium White Out appearances, Penn State has outscored its opponents 316-298.
As Auburn enters into the 107,000 jaws of hungry Nittany Lion fans, 60 minutes of gameplay will decide whether Penn State can bring home another win.
Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email email@example.com