Penn State Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | July 31, 2013

2013 Penn State Football Predictions

With all the intense scrutiny involving the Jerry Sandusky mess behind them (or at least in the rearview mirror), the Nittany faithful are more than ready to get back to what Penn State is supposed to be about in the fall, smash-mouth, solid fundamental football. Head coach Bill O’Brien did a remarkable job trying to replace the legendary Joe Paterno in 2012, guiding the team to an 8-4 record (6-2 in the Big Ten) and earning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.

Penn State returns fourteen starters, including eight on offense. There’s a battle at QB between Tyler Ferguson and Christian Hackenberg, with the latter perhaps possessing the biggest upside, although Ferguson has had his moments. Whoever opens under center, they’ll have numerous options to throw to, since the top seven receivers are back, led by Allen Robinson (77 catches, 1,013 yards, 11 TDs). Alex Kenney and Brandon Moseby-Felder also have plenty of experience, while TE Matt Lehman has the look of a future NFLer.

Seniors John Urschel and Adam Gress anchor the O-line, with plenty of big bodies clamoring to fill in positions in both spring and fall practice. They’ll have some speedy RBs to run interference for, led by burly (6’1 235) Zach Zwinak, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last fall. Behind him is the more athletic Akeel Lynch, who provides a nice change-of-pace look from the bullish Zwinak.

Always tough defensively, the Nittany Lions have some holes to fill along the front, especially on the edges. Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan need to provide better QB pressure, and Barnes oozes potential following an impressive freshman season. On the inside, Penn State has a bevy of 300-plus pounders to try and clog up the middle, with DaQuan Jones and Austin Johnson possible breakout performers.

Long known as “Linebacker U,” the LB corps is a bit short on experience, but doesn’t lack for bodies or numbers. Returning starters Glenn Carson and Mike Hull are both battle-tested and nasty tacklers, while three redshirt freshmen (Nyeem Wartman, Adam Cole and Gary Wooten) looked good in the spring.

All four starters return to the secondary, with CB Adrian Amos having the look of a future All-American. Strong safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong is a punishing hitter, although he needs to improve his deep coverage skills. Malcolm Willis and Da’Quan Davis are the other returning starters, and with insane depth behind them, this is definitely one of the conference’s (as well as nationally) top units.

The kicking game is also in capable hands (or feet) with K Sam Ficken and P Alex Butterworth back in 2013.

O’Brien turned down some lucrative job offers after just one season at State College, and he appears to be all-in with the job of getting Penn State back into the national conversation. The schedule is back-loaded with their toughest opponents (Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin), and if they can get a split there, nine or even ten wins isn’t too far-fetched. A reliable QB is a necessity however, and therein lies the key for season two of the post-Joe Pa era.

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