After a tough loss to UCF in Week 3, Penn State will look to bounce back against Kent State on Saturday.
In the Nittany Lions' first loss of the season, they put up 455 yards of total offense, but also allowed 507 yards of total offense in the 34-31 defeat. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg and senior running back Zach Zwinak had big games, but it wasn't enough as the defense let the team down.
Kent State (1-2) is coming off a 45-13 loss to LSU. The Golden Flashes were outgained in total yards, 571-248.
Here's a look at the clash on Saturday in University Park.
*All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
Watch: Big Ten Network
Live Stream: BTN2Go
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Penn State -22
Kent State Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: DL Nate Terhune (Leg)
Doubtful: RB Dri Archer (Ankle), CB Luke Wollett (Knee)
Questionable: CB Calvin Tiggle (Foot), G Jim Katusha (Concussion), OL Pat McShane (Knee)
Probable: CB Roosevelt Nix (Back)
Penn State Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: TE Matt Lehman (Knee), TE Brent Wilkerson (Knee), WR DaeSean Hamilton (Wrist), DE Brad Bars (Achilles)
Top Storyline: Penn State's Defense Must Improve Before Starting Big Ten Play
Even if Penn State doesn't take Kent State seriously, the Nittany Lions need to take this matchup seriously.
Penn State plays four straight explosive Big Ten opponents in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois after Saturday's game against the Golden Flashes. And, given the squad ceded 34 points and 507 total yards to UCF, it's safe to say it has some work to do on the defensive side of the ball.
First-year starting cornerbacks Trevor Williams and Jordan Lucas were bombarded against the Knights at Beaver Park. Williams was benched and replaced by safety Adrian Amos at one point, and Lucas committed a exasperating pass interference penalty on a 3rd-and-9 in the fourth quarter that allowed UCF to extend its drive and eventually go up 34-24.
Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan and Illinois rank sixth, 17th, 23rd and 41st, respectively, in points per game this season. The Nittany Lions must show significant progress on defense against Kent State or it could be an ugly next few games in Big Ten play.
Prediction: Penn State 35, Kent State 17
Who will win on Saturday?
Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, the Golden Flashes have an even worse defense, ranked 93rd in the nation in points allowed per game. Beyond the 45 points ceded to LSU, Kent State also allowed 41 points against Bowling Green. That included giving up a 92-yard touchdown.
On top of that, Kent State's offense may be even worse than its defense. The team ranks 109th in points per game (17.3), as well as 107th in yards per play.
Penn State may have lost to UCF, but even UCF outclasses Kent State. This should be an easy win for the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. If it isn't, then they really have problems.