"Penn State 32, UMass 10:
This ought to be a chance for the Nittany Lions to jump out to an early lead and finally get their backups some significant reps in the second half. Will be finally see a second (non-Wildcat) QB take the field?
-- Mark Brennan, mxbscout
"Penn State 34, UMass 9:
If ever there was an opportunity on the 2014 schedule to boost the offensive line's confidence, this is it. If Penn State cannot run the ball against the Minutemen, they won't be able to run it at all this season. Look for Penn State to keep it simple scheme-wise and execute well enough to win this game relatively easily.
-- Scott Cole, PSU96
"Penn State 38, UMass 14:
The Minutemen don’t last that long at Beaver Stadium Saturday. In a cigar-type of game, PSU gets some young guys valuable reps and its star players off the field. You need to have these types of games annually -- the more the better. Everybody plays and the starters are on the bench with a cigar by the end of the third quarter. Let’s hope so. Hack will get his yards and that is all anybody will want to talk about, but yet again the unheralded defense plays huge. It has been a while since we have been able to watch a dominant D every Saturday. 4-0 going into Homecoming, who would have thunk it?!!!! We Are…
-- Keith Conlin, keithconlin
"Penn State 30, UMass 13:
The UMass passing game will allow them to move the ball but the defense will prevent too many points yet again. The offense will focus on the running game, which will hit its stride, but will trigger less scoring than Las Vegas is expecting.
-- Nirav Dalal, PlaybookNirav
"Penn State 37, UMass 12:
The Lions have a chance to work out some running game kinks and get some reps for the backup quarterbacks. They can't take this game lightly, but if the focus and execute it should be an opportunity to build some confidence and work on some experience depth.
-- Mark Harrington, PlaybookMark
"Penn State 31, UMass 3:
The offensive line woes are not going to be solved any time soon, but a home game vs. a UMass team that let Vandy have success on the ground sure help. The defense should have another fine day.
-- Tom Hoffman, underscoreTom
"Penn State 27, UMass 10:
While they don't yet have the look of a well oiled machine, the Lions deserve major props for finding ways to win. In the process that combination along with the terrible play of the Big Ten in general could end up making my season prediction look really bad. Speaking of really bad, Penn State plays UMass this week, and that should give the Lions a chance to work on raising their game. James Franklin emerges with a 4-0 start, and Penn State hits the ground running for the conference slate.
-- Tom McLaughlin, WeRPSUPlaybook
"Penn State 38, UMass 13:
It really doesn't matter how ugly the wins are given the circumstances. The goals this year are simple, keep Hackenburg healthy, develop the young talent and reach 6 wins for the invaluable experience from bowl practices and game. While nothing is a gimme, the Lions should win this one and inch closer to that goal.
-- Donovan Neal, PSUMtnBike
"Penn State 42, UMass 13:
PSU scores early and often, the run game goes for over 200 yards, and Trace McSorley sees action as the Lions earn a win on a day they paid $850,000 for per a FOX Sports Wisconsin report.
-- Greg Pickel, GregPickel
"Penn State 37 UMass 0:
If the running game can't get any traction this week, it may not for the rest of the season. Regardless, it won't matter as the Hack air attack will put up all the points needed to blow the doors off UMass.
-- Rob Riva, rriva
Mark Brennan, mxbscout "7-5:
We knew all along that this would be the season where the NCAA sanctions had the greatest impact.
Luckily, since most of the penalties have been (or soon will be) eased or eliminated, this should be
as bad as it gets. I can see PSU winning a game or two more if the offensive line develops more
quickly than expected and all the key players stay healthy. But things will go sideways in a hurry
if key injuries hit."
Scott Cole, PSU96 "7-5:
The sanctions have taken their toll on the depth chart, leaving the offensive line and linebacker
corps in a very precarious spot. All it will take is one or two injuries to key personnel for things
to end up worse than my predicted record. However, I have faith in this coaching staff and feel they
will get the absolute most out of the Nittany Lions. This team will be much better in November and
will hopefully get a chance to have a month of bowl practices to use as a springboard into what
looks to be a very bright future."
Keith Conlin, keithconlin "8-4:
With so many questions at my beloved offensive line position this season, I cant lie that I am not concerned about the franchise QB being protected. But offensive lines thrive under pressure IMO. The staff won lots of games at Vandy playing in the SEC, so the it knows how to get it done with less than ideal players/circumstances. Guess what, we have those less than ideal circumstances. When the sanctions were handed down in 2012, we always knew that the 2014 season would be the hardest one on the team and staff because of the loss of scholarships. It is not going to be easy, but I have faith in the new staff and the attitude of our players. Tough kids all around who have been put through the ringer more than once or twice. This team will have its struggles early but I think they hit their stride by October. Until Brady Hoke proves he can win tight ball games (see Michigan-PSU 2013) I am predicting a win at the Big House. I am ready for the season and can't wait to get it started."
Nirav Dalal, PlaybookNirav "8-4:
I can see this season going +1 or -1 a win but anything beyond that would be a surprise to me. The
defense will keep the Lions in most games but the offense will be anemic with a struggling offensive
line and very young receivers. The result will be some tough, close loses but a solid season overall
when you consider the depth issues."
Mark Harrington, PlaybookMark "8-4:
This has the makings of being the toughest sanction season for the Nittany Lions, but with talent
and speed throughout the squad and the "unknown" factor of a new staff in the Big Ten, I expect the
Lions to win a major game few expect them to and lose a "gimme" few throught as possible. With
paper-thin spots on the roster, things could unravel quickly with a key injury or two."
Tom Hoffman, underscoreTom "7-5:
I'd like to say 8-4, but I just can't see a six-deep offensive line allowing the offense to operate
on all cylinders. The defense may be able to pick up some of that slack. James Franklin was able to
wring every last drop out of the Vanderbilt sponge, so maybe he can do the same with PSU."
Tom McLaughlin, WeRPSUPlaybook "6-6:
This season could end dramatically different from the prediction, but so much will depend on team
unity, and on how well Penn State gets out of the gate. A win in Ireland, particularly a convincing
one, could set the tone for a 9-3 campaign, but on the other hand, pre-season excitement and
enthusiasm is often watered down in the face of a slow start or a disappointing loss. It will be an
interesting challenge for the staff, and we will learn much about how they handle adversity and
Donovan Neal, PSUMtnBike "8-4:
A season of unknowns with another new coaching staff, a depleted roster in key areas, and on paper
the most crippling year from the sanctions to look forward to. The Lions must develop the
offensive line and stay healthy. A healthy team may pull out 9 wins, but an unhealthly one may
barely break even. I'm going with a prediction somewhere in the upper middle."
Greg Pickel, GregPickel "7-5:
The chorus has sung, as pundits and fans alike are projecting the Lions end up 7-5. A win they
shouldn't have and a loss that shouldn't happen are to be expected, but the limited depth everyone
knew was coming this fall makes it tough to make Penn State an eight win team. In fact, 9-3 seems
just as plausible as 3-9, depending on how the cards fall. But 7-5 would be considered a success,
with anything more than that simply being gravy atop the James Franklin express."
Rob Riva, rriva "6-6:
By now, everyone knows the depth issues facing the Nittany Lions, particularly on the offensive
line, as a result of the sanctions. The game is won in the trenches, and Penn State is one or two
injuries away from asking some run-ons to play offensive line. That also will likely temper the
effectiveness of one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Christian Hackenberg, who has some
extremely talented players in the backfield, at tight end and at wideout. The 2014 season will be
the low-point of the sanction years with things looking up exponentially hereafter. Look for Penn
State to drop a game it otherwise shouldn't early in the season as the team develops (i.e at
Rutgers) but pull out a stunner by the end of the year (i.e. home against Michigan State)."