Penn State vs. Villanova Game Predictions
The Penn State Nittany Lions take on the Villanova Wildcats at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Penn State is coming off a victory over the Auburn Tigers while Villanova defeated the Richmond Spiders. Both teams are undefeated coming into the contest. Penn State leads the series historically with a 4-1-1 record against Villanova since 1902.
While it is a matchup of two unbeaten teams, this game may not be as close as you’d think.
Looking deeper into the numbers, Penn State has lived up to it’s No. 6 ranking in the AP Polls with two of three wins coming against ranked opponents. The Nittany Lions have been one of the best defensive teams in the country so far this season after holding Wisconsin and Auburn to a combined 30 points.
Sean Clifford has played efficient football during the first three games of the season, only tossing one interception which came at the end of the first half against Auburn. New offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich developed a fast pace offensive system which fooled the Auburn Tigers at several points during last week’s game.
As for the Villanova Wildcats, while they are currently 3-0 to start the year, the Nittany Lions will be their toughest opponent all season long.
The Wildcats are coming off a hard fought win over Richmond, a team based in the CAA conference like Villanova, winning 34-27. Villanova quarterback Daniel Smith was able to lead a comeback where the Wildcats scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
It’s tough to imagine that the Wildcats can go from keeping a game against Richmond close to all of a sudden giving the No. 6 team in the country a run for its money.
Penn State 55, Villanova 14
Penn State's in-state matchup against the Villanova Wildcats should be a cakewalk. Key word: should.
The Nittany Lions have rightfully earned their spot as the No. 6 ranked team in the nation, knocking off two ranked opponents within the first three games of the season. However in order to maintain their ranking, Penn State needs to beat Villanova in the way a No. 6 team should: by blowing them out.
Quarterback Sean Clifford and wide receiver Jahan Dotson have developed a strong connection to start the season, one that should thrive against Villanova’s defense. This connection has led to a Penn State offense that is averaging 29.3 points per game, with Clifford completing 71.3 percent of his passes. Couple that with the backfield threat of running back Noah Cain, and it’s simply hard to believe that Villanova will do anything to lower that average.
While the Villanova Wildcats aren’t the most threatening opponent, they are still an undefeated team that has beaten two opposing teams in blowout fashion.
Their 52-3 win against the Bucknell Bison and 47-3 win over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks show that the Wildcats have the potential to be explosive. In addition, a 34-27 come-from-behind victory over the Richmond Spiders shows their resilience. It’s safe to say that quarterback Daniel Smith and the Wildcats are going to try and bring their all against the Nittany Lions.
While this game should result in Penn State’s ringing of the victory bell, the Wildcats still should not be taken lightly. As head coach James Franklin always says, “1-0, 1-0, 1-0, 1-0.”
Penn State 52, Villanova 10
Penn State takes on a Villanova team that has had its own success three games into the season. Both squads are 3-0 on the year, but Penn State has faced much better opponents.
Penn State beat both Wisconsin and Auburn while Villanova’s toughest opponent and strongest win was against the Richmond Spiders. As the expression goes, Villanova is way out of Penn State’s league.
Now, obviously the Nittany Lions and Wildcats are in different conferences, but the expression refers to strength and level of competition. If Penn State was 0-3 going into this game it would still beat Villanova. The Nittany Lions would defeat the Wildcats on an off year, which means this contest is going to be a lop-sided victory.
The Nittany Lions are evidently better than they were in last year’s affair. They are ranked No. 6 and have beaten two ranked teams through three games. The Wildcats simply do not compete at the same level as the Nittany Lions making this specific scenario horrifying for the coaching staff.
The sheer level of competition combined with being a highly-ranked team, gives the Nittany Lions a great advantage that will create a dominant victory.
Penn State 55, Villanova 7
Logan Bourandas is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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