No. 10 Penn State opens with Appalachian State
Appalachian State (9-4 last year) at No. 10 Penn State (11-2), 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network).
Line: Penn State by 24.
Series record: None.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
With just three losses by a combined seven points over their last 23 games, the Nittany Lions appear to have a good mix of veterans and up-and-comers to continue winning. The Mountaineers have been ready in recent season openers against Top 25 teams, nearly beating Tennessee in 2016 and hanging tough with Georgia last season. They can celebrate the 11-year anniversary of their upset at Michigan by shocking another Top 10 team.
Penn State’s front seven vs. Appalachian State’s running game. Most of Penn State’s fresh faces are in the middle of the defense where coach James Franklin wants to spread reps for new defensive tackles and linebackers. They’ll have to slow Jalin Moore, a physical running back who’s run over defenders for many of his 3,170 career rushing yards.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Appalachian State: Moore. The 5-foot-11, 207-pounder doesn’t need big holes, he can find daylight in crowds and is at top speed in an instant.
Penn State: QB Trace McSorley. The program leader in nearly every passing category, McSorley enters his final season as a Heisman Trophy candidate with a host of weapons around him. He’s 22-5 as a starter and has thrown a touchdown pass in 28-straight games, the longest streak in FBS.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State has won 14 straight inside Beaver Stadium with 33 or more points in 12 of those games. . CB John Reid will return for Penn State after missing all of last season with a knee injury. . Penn State LB Jan Johnson is expected to make his first start. He competed in eight matches for Penn State’s wrestling team in 2015 but saw action in only six football games last season. . Appalachian State’s 36-9 mark over its last 45 games is the fifth best nationally. Only Alabama (41-4), Clemson (41-4), Ohio State (40-5) and Wisconsin (37-8) have been better. . The Mountaineers have 56 interceptions since 2015.