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Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Where and when: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pennsylvania, Saturday, 12:00 pm EST
The 11th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions hope to continue their roll early on as they host the Pittsburgh Panthers of the ACC at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania, on Saturday at 12 noon. Penn State dominated last year’s matchup as they opened up a 14-6 advantage at the half to outscore the Panthers 37-0 in the second to get the win. Currently, PointsBet has the Nittany Lions favored by 17 points.
Penn State will have its third straight home game for 2019 as each of their first two matchups were blowouts, albeit versus lesser competition. Furthermore, they have covered during each of these contests as well, including winning against the spread as -31 point favorites versus the Buffalo Bulls last weekend. The win was their fifth straight at Beaver Stadium with the team covering in each.
Both their defense/offense ranks within the top 30 teams in college football, yet had to rally versus the Bulls, after falling behind at the break, to outscore the visitors 38-3 thanks to three touchdown passes from quarterback Sean Clifford, who has thrown for six touchdowns along with just under 300 yards in two contests, thus far.
The Pittsburgh Panthers looks to have a much better performance versus the Nittany Lions on Saturday. They went 1-1 ATS by beating the Ohio Bobcats at home last weekend while racking up 481 yards in the meantime as quarterback Kevin Pickett threw for over 300 yards along with a touchdown. His favorite target throughout the contest was Maurice Ffrench, who rebounded from a fifty-four yard performance in a loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in week-one. Nonetheless, the Panthers are 3-1 in their last four road games while also being 3-1 ATS during this time.
Clifford has looked promising for Penn State
With Clifford at the helm, the Penn State offense has averaged over 500 yards along with sixty-two points in just two games in 2019. Jahan Dotson along with Pat Freiermuth each had two touchdown passes from Clifford in last week’s win. Furthermore, their rushing attack has put up over 200 yards in weeks one and two while Clifford is passing for an average of 310 yards per game thus far. They may perform even better Saturday with offensive lineman Juice Scruggs possibly being back in the lineup due to a back injury due to an offseason accident.
Safety John Petrishen transferred to Pittsburgh and Franklin had top change the signals.
“We knew that we were going to have to make some changes at that point. So, we have changed [signals]. We didn’t wait until this week to do it,” Franklin stated. “We did it right when that was announced, but obviously, we had to change all of our signals, you know, especially on defense and on offense, as well, but especially on defense, because he knows all of our signals and those types of things. That was something we had to do right away.”
It's #PSUStripeOut Week! What color are you reppin' on Saturday? 🔵⚪️🔵⚪️
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) September 10, 2019
Their defense, on the other hand, has been dominant as well in allowing just twenty points on the season while holding the Idaho Vandals and the Buffalo Bulls to under 100 yards rushing. In fact, this defense has allowed only an average of fifteen points per game to opponents in their last seven games at Beaver Stadium. Important to note that Jon Reid has two interceptions on the year for the Nittany Lions.
Pitt gets hard-fought win in week-two
Coach Pat Narduzzi of the Pittsburgh Panthers enjoyed the win over the Ohio Bobcats in week two. However, he made it clear in saying that “there are still a lot of things we’ve got to clean up.” Penalties, for example, could certainly be something that the Panthers may need to correct in this matchup. After a total of ten for ninety-five yards versus the Bobcats, the team will need to practice much more discipline on Saturday.
Converting on third-down will also be an area that the team will look to improve upon versus Penn State as they made good on just five of fourteen attempts last week versus an Ohio team that has allowed over 400 total yards to each of their opponents in 2019.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 10, 2019
Cleaning up these areas may be a bit difficult for the Panthers as they will now face a team in the Nittany Lions that have been dominant at home in recent matchups, as pointed out. Also, combine this with the fact that they have been shaky on the road as well dating back to last year in addition to the team being without defensive lineman Keyshawn Camp for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, one can certainly conclude that a win could really raise the team’s intensity level moving forward into the season.
- Nittany Lions are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
- Nittany Lions are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. ACC.
- No trends to report
Updated on Sep 14 at 7:55am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The line has stayed true at -17 all week with Penn State getting 63% of the bets. The Sharps are clearly on the side of the Panthers.
Injury / Weather Report
Pittsburgh’s Impact Injury Report
Out: DL Keyshon Camp and DL Rashad Weaver
Penn State’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: OL Juice Scruggs
Gametime Weather: Mid to upper 60s with showers in the area
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Rain is expected for this Saturday matchup, which means that the Panthers will receive a healthy dose of what has been a solid Penn State rushing attack. Also, Clifford can also be a duel threat as well, which will complicate things for Pittsburgh throughout the contest. In all, look for the home team to prevail while covering the seventeen in the end. Pittsburgh should be commended for putting a win on the books last week; However, the Nittany Lions have high hopes in 2019 and will not take them lightly.
Prediction: Pick: Penn State Nittany Lions -17
Full-Game Total Pick
Under head coach Narduzzi, the Panthers continue to possess a strong defense in 2019. Penn State also possesses big talent on their side of the ball as well. However, with the offense for the Panthers being mistake-riddled at the time, expect the defense for the home team to take advantage. Penn State will put scores on the board, yet the offense for Pitt will be stagnant as the Nittany Lion defense will shine once again as the under will indeed be the call in the end.
Prediction: Pick: Under 51.5