Penn State vs. Syracuse: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Bill O'Brien of the Penn State Nittany Lions leads his team onto the field before playing the Ohio State Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

When the Penn State Nittany Lions square off against the Syracuse Orange at MetLife Stadium on Saturday, the nationally televised battle will be one of the best matchups in Week 1.

College football fans will be in a frenzy with the sport they love back on TV, and this is all the information you need to know in order to enjoy Saturday’s game.


When: Saturday, August 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Watch: ABC and ESPN 2

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Free Football Radio


Betting Line (via Covers)

Over/Under: 51.5, Spread: Syracuse (+8.5)

Making a wager on college football is already a serious gamble, but with this game played on a neutral field in the first week of the season, this bet is a shot in the dark. Take the over and Penn State giving the 8.5 points.


Injury Report (via USA Today)

Penn State

Brent Wilkerson, TE, Questionable (back)



No injuries to report.


BCS/Top-25 Implications

While Penn State has a defensive unit that will be amongst the best in the nation, the sanctions against the school from the NCAA will keep the Nittany Lions from contending in the BCS this season.

Just like the Ohio State Buckeyes last season, though, the penalties don’t mean Penn State has to give up. With a tough schedule ahead—four games against ranked teams—the program can prove that it is still thriving.

Syracuse is dealing with major turnover as new head coach Scott Shafer has taken over the team and quarterback Ryan Nassib was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Neither team has high expectations, but this matchup will be a great gauge how well they play in 2013.


Nittany Lions Players to Watch: Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson, QB

Senior Matthew McGloin was signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent this offseason, and the need for a new starting quarterback became the team’s first and most glaring offseason focus.

That’s where the battle between freshman Christian Hackenberg and junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson will help lead Penn State to a successful regular-season campaign. With both QBs pushing each other to get better, the Nittany Lions are the biggest winners in this race.

ESPN's Josh Moyer reported on Friday that Hackenberg earned the starting nod vs. Syracuse, but it's not unrealistic for Ferguson to play on Saturday, as well, depending on how things unfold.


Orange Players to Watch: Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt, QB

Another quarterback battle rages on in Syracuse as Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt do their best to win the starting job and replace Nassib as the biggest star in the program.

Brett McMurphy of ESPN is reporting that Shafer will not name his starter prior to Saturday’s game and has given little inclination of which direction he is leaning:

While that can be viewed as unfair to the QB that will be the backup, there is a real chance that the staff has already named the starter in private but will not reveal their plan to the public, and more importantly, Penn State.

How the battle between Allen and Hunt plays out on Saturday will be fun to watch.


Prediction: Penn State 31, Syracuse 21

The Orange have a talented team, but the Bill O'Brien-led Nittany Lions are too strong on defense to falter against Syracuse. Add in the clean slate that an offensive genius like O’Brien has in Happy Valley, and it's clear Penn State will start the season with a big win.