Two unbeaten teams will collide this Saturday as Penn State plays host to Central Florida. This will provide a nice proving ground for both programs.
Penn State is off to a solid start with a six-point win over Syracuse in the opener and a 45-7 win over the outclassed Eastern Michigan Eagles. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been excellent at the start of his college career.
Meanwhile, UCF has been absolutely dominant. It has beaten Akron and Florida International by a combined score of 76-7. Obviously, the Nittany Lions figure to be a much stiffer test for the Knights, but that doesn't mean it is a test they can't handle.
When: Saturday, Sept, 14 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Beaver Stadium in University Park, Penn.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Spread: Penn State -5 (according to Covers.com)
Injuries (via USA Today)
No significant injuries.
Questionable: Ben Kline, LB; Ryan Keiser, S; Mike Hull, LB
Out: Matt Lehman, TE; Brent Wilkerson, TE; DaeSean Hamilton, WR; Brad Bars, DE
Key Storyline: Can Penn State Keep Its Running Game Churning?
Penn State offered up a solid 23-17 win over Syracuse in the season opener. However, in that game, the Nittany Lions ran for just 57 yards at 1.5 yards per carry.
Obviously, Penn State was going to have a hard time navigating the season if that run game did not improve, and last week it did.
Going against Eastern Michigan, Penn State used a running-back-by-committee approach that featured Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch to power their way to 251 rushing yards and a 6.4 yards-per-carry average.
Now Penn State has to face a Central Florida defense that allowed Florida International just 31 yards on 29 carries last week.
It will be a nice test for a team that showed new commitment to the ground game.
Prediction: Penn State 20, Central Florida 17
Central Florida has been playing excellent football, but there is no doubt that this game is a definite step up in competition.
This is going to be a fun and competitive game, but in the end, Penn State will ride the home-field advantage to a narrow victory.