This Saturday, Penn State fans will see Georgia State under the Beaver Stadium lights. The 7:30 pm kick-off is the first night game of the season in Happy Valley. The number five Nittany Lions are looking to start the season 3-0, but first must contend with another Panther football team. This is the first match up between the two teams and Georgia State’s second game of the season.
Penn State fans are hoping for an easy win heading into Big Ten play.
Georgia State-Penn State Under the Beaver Stadium Lights
Four Things to Look for
1. A Well-Rested, Prepared Georgia State Team
Georgia State is a young football program. This is only their seventh season with a team. They joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 and have only played one game this season, which ended in a loss to Tennessee State. The Panthers are coming off of an early bye week and will be well rested and very prepared coming into Saturday. Georgia State first year head coach Shawn Elliott spent the previous seven seasons in the SEC as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at South Carolina. On Monday Elliott was quoted saying, “…Win or lose, Penn State is going to know that we came up to play a football game — I can assure you that.”
Fans may forget that Georgia State took a ranked Wisconsin team to the wire last September, only losing by six. This Saturday has Georgia State under the Beaver Stadium lights, and look for them to play their best on the national stage.
2. Trace McSorley Returning to Top Form
The stat sheet for Trace McSorley against Pittsburgh looks good, but if you watched the game you could tell he was slightly off. Even though he passed for 164 yards and three touchdowns, he was flat and went 15 for 28. This was down from the season opener where his completion percentage was 72.0. McSorley should bounce back this week against a Georgia State defense that gave up 145 passing yards to an FCS school in their season opener.
3. Nittany Lions Secondary Continuing Dominance
Elliott also stated in his interview on Monday that the Penn State secondary, “…can matchup with pretty much everybody in the country.” He also emphasized that they are “strong, physical and fast.” This is an accurate statement about a group headed by Marcus Allen and Grant Haley. The Penn State secondary has started the season with at least one interception in back-to-back games for the second straight year. Look for another one on Saturday against Panther quarterback Conner Manning who had 13 interceptions in the 2016 season.
4. Penn State Offensive Line Continuing to Grow
The offensive line has started the season off strong. Headed by Andrew Nelson, the o-line has only allowed one sack this season. That is a major improvement from a year ago. McSorley was sacked five times in the first two games of the 2016 season. This week the offensive line will contend with linebacker Michael Shaw, Georgia State’s 2016 sack leader and defensive end Mackendy Cheridor. Cheridor has 20.5 career tackles for loss. Both players got to the Tennessee State quarterback in their season opener and had four tackles each.
The Nittany Lions have to start the game strong and fast to keep Georgia State in check on Saturday. Look for a hard fought game on both sides of the ball. The Nittany Lions should put this away and start the season 3-0.