West Virginia at 7. Penn State
When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Beaver Stadium, State College
Radio: See Penn State Radio Network
Follow Along: Nittany Nation Twitter Feed
Betting Line: Penn State -20.5 (DK 8/31)
Three Things to Watch…
It’s a new era in Happy Valley as Drew Allar (likely) takes over. While James Franklin would not commit to a starting quarterback leading up to the game, 2022 five-star recruit, Drew Allar is expected to take the reins. As a freshman, Allar threw for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns. There is ample hype around the sophomore and lofty expectations around the team that very much hang on his shoulder. Allar is the highest graded quarterback recruit under James Franklin, and carries expectations some have compared to those that followed Kerry Collins, who ironically made his debut against West Virginia in the two teams’ last meeting in 1993.
All eyes are on West Virginia’s C.J. Donaldson who may hold the keys for the Mountaineers, not just Saturday, but all season long. The converted tight end had a splashy freshman campaign running for 536 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Donaldson averaged 6.0 yards-per-carry before a season-ending injury forced him to miss the end of the year. Donaldson, listed at 6-foot-1 and 238 lbs, is a bruising back capable of getting into the second level quick. Stopping the run between the tackles was a real issue for Penn State in 2022 (see Michigan) and if Donaldson can run free, Penn State could be in for a tougher matchup Saturday than they expect.
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History shouldn’t be ignored, but it is. Neither team wanted to dive much into this once storied rivalry leading into the match. Penn State has been historically dominant, recording a 42-9-2 all-time according to WVU’s records. The Mountaineers haven’t won in Happy Valley since 1954. Despite the one-sided relationship, it’s a part of the game that still excites fans and while both coaches downplayed the significance, many fans still understand when a West Virginia-Penn State games means.