Penn State vs. Auburn Game Prediction

posted September 15, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Eric Fenstermaker

The No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions welcome the No. 22 Auburn Tigers to Happy Valley on Saturday night for Penn State’s first White Out since 2019.

Despite all the hype and allure of the White Out, Penn State hasn’t always dominated opponents in its biggest game of the year.

The blue and white is just 8-8 all time in White Outs. However, despite just a .500 record in White Outs, Penn State commands the attention of College GameDay and fans around the world as Penn State plans to pack the crowd and create a sea of noise for Saturday’s contest.

The Nittany Lions are the only team to host College GameDay each of the last five seasons, and this year marks the 22nd time GameDay has showcased the blue and white in action.

Auburn comes to Beaver Stadium as just the third team outside of the Big Ten to play in the White Out. In 2007, Penn State hosted Notre Dame in a 31-10 victory, and in 2011, the Nittany Lions fell to Alabama 27-11.

This is also Penn State’s first time taking on Auburn during the regular season. Penn State holds an all-time record of 1-1 against the Tigers. In 1995, Penn State took down Auburn 43-14 in the Outback Bowl, while the Tigers got revenge against the Nittany Lions securing a 13-9 victory in the 2002 Capital One Bowl.

Interestingly, Auburn’s quarterback in the 1995 Outback Bowl, Patrick Nix, is the father of the man who will be under center for the Tigers on Saturday, Bo Nix.

Nix has helped the Tigers jump out to great offensive performances against Akron and Alabama State putting up 60 and 62 points respectively. While Auburn’s passing attack is respectable, its ground game may be the reason why the Tigers could escape Beaver Stadium with a win.

Auburn running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have each gone for over 100 yards in both of its games this season. The Tigers boast two rushers that can carve out yards and chew time off the clock.

Additionally, the Tigers love to try and create turnovers. Against Akron, the Tigers caused four fumbles, and against Alabama State, Auburn forced two fumbles and recorded an interception.

However, the Tigers will have to go up against the Nittany Lions’ defense, which will easily be the best unit they have seen all season.

In their first game of the year, the Nittany Lions suffocated Wisconsin’s offense shutting down the Badgers four times inside Penn State’s 25-yard line. The Nittany Lions defense followed up that performance with two interceptions against Ball State, including Jesse Luketa’s 16-yard interception that he took to the house in front of the blue and white’s student section.

Offensively, Jahan Dotson anchors Penn State’s offense and is the team’s catalyst. Dotson leads the team in receiving yards with 167 and is tied for the most receptions on the team at 10 with Parker Washington. Dotson has shown he can use his speed and big-play potential to change the game for the Nittany Lions.

PREDICTION:

Auburn has put up 122 points in just two weeks, but the Tigers haven’t played anyone even remotely formidable. Nix has shown some weaknesses at times, and he will be walking into a stadium stuffed with fans looking to celebrate Penn State’s White Out tradition.

The Tigers’ ability to run is vital, and they can do some damage controlling the clock and grinding out the game. However, the Tigers don’t have enough to compete offensively with the terror that has been the defensive unit of Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have stuffed opposing offenses, and that Penn State defense should be able to corral Auburn’s rushing attack just enough to mitigate the Tigers’ power.

The Nittany Lions offense started slowly Week 1, but the team seems to have come together nicely and clicked well against Ball State. Simply put, Dotson is a star, so if he and Sean Clifford can start the game well, the rest of the game should flow well.


NO. 10 PENN STATE: 27

NO. 22 AUBURN TIGERS: 17

 


Eric Fenstermaker is a fourth-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at esf5129@psu.edu.