Penn State vs. Villanova Game Preview

Story posted September 24, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

Following a one-possession win in last week’s White Out game against Auburn, the Penn State Nittany Lions are rolling to start the season as they currently have a 3-0 record.

That win not only jumped the Nittany Lions up to No. 6 in the AP Polls, but it is also the first time in program history that they have two wins against ranked teams during the first three games of the season. The other game being the blue and white’s 16-10 road victory over Wisconsin to open up the season.

With that success to start the year, it’s safe to say the Nittany Lions are one of the hotter teams in the country heading into this week’s game against the Villanova Wildcats.

That could be due to Nittany Lions not being able to sub players in and out like they normally would in previous years when given an easier schedule, allowing the usual starters to see more action to start the season according to head coach James Franklin.

“We get to play a lot of those guys typically early on with non-conference games trying to figure out who people are and adjust from there,” Franklin said. “I don’t know if on the road at Wisconsin was the place to figure that out so I think it’s been impacted by our schedule.”

Starting the season with that tough schedule has allowed the Nittany Lions to mature and grow as a team.

One veteran on the team who holds that belief is fifth-year senior Tariq Castro-Fields, as he thinks how close the team is has allowed it to grow a lot throughout these first three games.

“I think we’ve matured a lot just through how close we are,” Castro-Fields said. “I think that’s shown as far as our play, we love each other and that just shows in how we play. I think we’ve definitely matured as a whole team for sure.”

This Saturday, the Nittany Lions will be facing another 3-0 team in the Villanova Wildcats. Ranked No. 11 in the FCS Polls, the Wildcats have been one of the top offensive teams in their conference putting up over 30 points in each game this season.

The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back home wins against Bucknell and Richmond, where they scored a combined 89 points.

Playing a team capable of putting up big numbers on the offensive side of the ball will be a good challenge for a Penn State defense which has been one of the best in the country to start the season.

Fifth-year senior Derrick Tangelo transferred to Penn State from Duke before the season started, and he believes the Nittany Lion defense has played exactly how he expected they would to start the season.

“I wouldn’t really say we exceeded our expectations cause I feel like we have a standard in our room,” Tangelo said. “Everybody wants to be accountable, everybody’s gonna hold each other accountable, we just wanna play hard so I feel like we’ve been doing what we’ve been saying that we wanna do throughout summer training, winter training and fall camp.”

Penn State and Villanova will face off on Saturday at noon in Beaver Stadium.

 

Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.