Game of the Week Preview: Week 3

Article from @BlitzCFB

Auburn travels to Happy Valley to face Penn State and they will have to survive one of the best traditions in the sport: the White Out Both the Auburn Tigers and Penn State Nittany Lions have had successful starts to their respective seasons. Auburn won convincingly against Akron and Alabama State in the first two weeks of the season. The Tigers won those games by a combined score of 122 to 10. Those performances have earned Auburn a top 25 ranking by the AP Poll. However, they have yet to be tested. Penn State opened their season with a physical, road win against a good Wisconsin team. Then, they beat one of the best teams in the MAC, Ball State, 44 to 13 this past Saturday. Penn State are off to a great start this season. Both teams are undefeated and have a tough road ahead of them. An Auburn win would be huge for new head coach Bryan Harsin. It would be Harsin’s first signature win at Auburn. Penn State has had a number of great wins in front of the White Out. This win would be nice to add to their playoff resume. Auburn offense vs Penn State defense We all know that Auburn QB Bo Nix performs better inside the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium, so how will he deal with the environment in Happy Valley? While Auburn has looked great on offense, they have yet to play a great defense like Penn State. Arnold Ebiketie is a player to watch out for on the edge. Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks make up a solid linebacking duo that could give Bo Nix trouble. Auburn can’t get behind schedule and get into obvious passing situations on 3rd down. The crowd will be loud and Auburn will make a few mistakes offensively. Auburn has been dependent on the run game this season. They have two reliable runners in Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter. Penn State will have to limit the running game and force Bo Nix to make plays through the air and with his legs if they want to be successful. Another key here is turnovers and penalties. Auburn has to win the turnover battle and make the most out of each possession. Turnovers and penalties require disciplined coaching. Has Bryan Harsin been at Auburn long enough to instill that discipline in his program? We will find that out Saturday night.

Penn State offense vs Auburn defense Penn State has a lot of weapons offensively. Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington and Noah Cain are a few to keep an eye on. Dotson is a deep ball threat. Look for Sean Clifford to target him a lot Saturday night. Noah Cain is a reliable player as well. He averages 4.2 yards per carry, and he also has 8 catches out of the backfield. As for the Auburn defense, they already have 8 sacks this season. TD Moultry and Marquis Burks lead the team with 2 sacks apiece. The Tigers also have a solid linebacking corps led by Zakoby McClain, who leads the team with 17 total tackles. Auburn has a good enough defense to limit Penn State. Sean Clifford will look for Jahan Dotson anytime he has one-on-one coverage. Auburn will get burned by Dotson and the deep ball. Penn State will have a few explosive plays, which could change the course of the game. What will happen Historically, Bo Nix has not performed well away from home. Not only are they away from home, but they are in one of the toughest environments in all of sports: the Penn State White Out. Nix and the Auburn offense will make a few costly mistakes. They will turn the ball over and have some penalties that will hurt them. The Auburn defense will keep them in this game, but the difference is the Sean Clifford to Jahan Dotson connection. I think Dotson will have a big game for Penn State which will lead them to a home win. Prediction: Auburn 20-23 Penn State (AUB +6.5 & UNDER 53.5) Follow me on Twitter @BlitzCfb for more game predictions and College Football coverage!

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