3 bold Penn State Nittany Lions predictions in Week 3 vs. Auburn
After coming out of the gates hot with a 2-0 record to start the 2022 NCAA season, the Penn State Nittany Lions are set to take their show on the road to Alabama for a cross-conference showdown with the Auburn Tigers of the SEC.
Though the Nittany Lions have taken on another Power 5 contest on September 1st in the form of a Week 1 win over Purdue, this is the first game of the year Penn State will play as a ranked team, and the best chance they’ll have to test their proverbial mettle until October 15th, when they travel west to Ann Arbor for a pivotal game at “The Big House” that could very well decide the ultimate victor of the Big 10 East.
If the Nittany Lions win, they’ll likely rise up even higher in the power rankings, especially if Week 3 has as many shocking upsets as Week 2. And if not? Well, there will be plenty of time to rebuild some goodwill with a contest against Central Michigan rounding out the month of September, and a home game against Northwestern on October 1st before the bye.
Fortunately, Auburn looks like an ideal measuring stick for PSU in Week 3 and could help to set a strong tone for a month of momentum-building should-be victories.
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) September 16, 2022
3. Auburn throws for less than 200 yards
Through the first two weeks of the 2022 NCAA season, Auburn’s passing offense has been downright bad. Their quarterback duo of TJ Finley and Robby Ashford have combined for just 380 total passing yards on 44 attempts, and have a combined touchdown-to-interception ratio of 1:4.
While Penn State’s passing defense hasn’t been great, as they’ve allowed an average of 246.5 passing yards per game versus Purdue and Ohio, whomever the Tigers trot out under center should make the defensive secondary’s collective lives easier and hopefully set them up for success moving forward.
2. Nicholas Singleton goes for over 100 yards
Nicholas Singleton might just be Penn State’s next great running back, joining the likes of Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders as Happy Valley standouts who hear their names called early on in the NFL draft. Though he’s only run the ball 20 times, Singleton has already amassed 210 yards and two touchdowns in just two games, with the five-star freshman ripping off three runs of 20 yards or more on the way to a star-making, 179-yard performance against Ohio.
Now granted, the Tigers’ run defense has been pretty stingy through the first two weeks of the season, allowing just 64 rushing yards per game with a 2.1 yards-per-carry average, but even if Penn State has an easier time getting the ball moving through the air, as opposing teams have averaged 236 passing yards per game, establishing the run and more importantly, building on Singleton’s strong Week 2 performance has to be a priority too.
1. Penn State Football secures a Big Ten team to win at Jordan-Hare
According to ESPN, no Big Ten team has ever won – or lost – a game at Auburn’s home field, Jordan-Hare Stadium, as they’ve never hosted a team from the conference before and have played its teams just four times since the Tigers began playing football all the way back in 1892.
Penn State, by contrast, has a 24-24 record against SEC teams, including a 2-1 record over Auburn, according to Auburn Daily. If James Franklin’s squad can secure a win in Week 3, it will add a crucial notch to all of those columns and become a fun fact for fans down the line when the two teams agree to another home-and-home series in the future.