It’s time to define Penn State’s 2022 football season.
The undefeated Nittany Lions will face 16-1 combined opponents from Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio in their next three games.
They got off to a 5-0 start for the fourth time in six seasons. These include his two in New Year’s Six Bowl games where he finished in a berth with an 11-2 record, and his one last year when he crashed to a 7-6 finish.
Which direction is Penn State going? Here are five issues to watch over the next seven weeks to help answer that question.
1. Will Shawn Clifford give Penn State a chance to win?
Even with Penn State in the top 10 and throwing nine touchdown passes against two interceptions, Clifford remains a key fan target. He fed them with two dominating performances against Northwestern and Central Michigan in a rainstorm.
Acclaimed freshman Drew Aller remains a fan favorite, but he didn’t play against Northwestern. blocked the call and coverage.
But if the Lions lose two of their next three games and Clifford plays poorly, it’s time for Allah to see more important game action and perhaps become a starter.
2. Is the running game valid for the entire month?
Freshman Nick Singleton, former Governor Mifflin star Caitron Allen, rushed for 766 yards and eight touchdowns behind an improved offensive line. Penn State, however, will face a much stronger run defense than ever before.
Central Michigan (70th), Auburn (92nd), Ohio (99th) and Northwestern (102nd) rank in the bottom half of the Football Bowl subdivision in terms of defensive speed. The Lions struggled at Purdue, ranked 17th in the world. Michigan (7th), Minnesota (6th) and Ohio (15th) offer a more difficult test.
Penn State is averaging a solid 192.6 rushing yards per game, well above last year’s 107.8 average. His next three games provide the litmus test.
3. Can Penn State’s ferocious defense sustain its success?
The Lions rank fifth in FBS for runs, allowing only 79.6 yards per game. But statistically the best rushing offense they’ve faced is No. 75 Auburn. Central Michigan (#97), Purdue (#103), Northwestern (#110) and Ohio (#112) all rank in Rush’s bottom third nationally.
In the next three weeks, Penn State will see three of the nation’s top 20 rushing offenses and perhaps three top backs: Michigan’s Blake Colm, Minnesota’s Mohammed Ibrahim and Ohio State’s Trebillon Henderson. I will. Ibrahim missed last week’s game against Purdue because of his ankle injury.
The Lions have good tackles in PJ Mustiffer and Hakeem Beamon, but are weak against linebackers. Dynamic freshman Abdul Carter is likely to put in more time than he does, and can add speed and athleticism to his runs.
4. Should Penn State University care about turnover?
The Lions lost with four fumbles and one interception after committing one turnover in the first four games in a 17-7 win over Northwestern earlier this month.
Singleton failed twice and Allen and Keyborn Lee lost four footballs against the Wildcats in the rain, visibly angering Franklin. He’s obsessed with ball security, so he definitely got some attention during the goodbye week.
It’s hard to remember a game where a Penn State running back lost to four fumbles. Were they a by-product of horrifying circumstances and lack of detail, or were they just jarring hits by Northwestern? we’re trying to find
5. Can Penn State rely on Jake Pinnegar?
Pinnegar got off to a difficult start, missing two extra point attempts and two field goal attempts.
He scored a 38-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Northwestern to stop the Wildcats.
Pinnegar has made 41 of 57 field goal attempts in his career, averaging above .719. He missed seven extra point attempts, which is not good.
Franklin said place-kicking is a concern, especially since potentially close matches could take place in the coming weeks.
https://www.dailylocal.com/2022/10/09/penn-state-must-answer-several-questions-in-season-defining-games-opinion/ Penn State must answer some questions in season-defining game [opinion]