Week 3 of the college football season has several key matchups that are sure to keep hardcore fans glued to their TVs all day on Saturday. The primetime game of the week features the Auburn Tigers against the Penn State Nittany Lions. It could be a tightly contested game as Penn State is favored by six points at most online sportsbooks.
In this quick preview, we’ll take a look at both team’s offense and defense to see who has the edge in this SEC / Big 10 massacre. We’ll also let you know which way we are leaning by providing a pick on this game.
Auburn Offense vs. Penn State Defense
The Auburn Tigers’ offense has looked very potent to start the 2021 season. New head coach Bryan Harsin has created quite the buzz down on the Plains with his new offensive strategy. Veteran QB Bo Nix has played fantastically so far by throwing for 383 yards and five touchdowns. Freshman running back Jarquez Hunter has been a pleasant surprise by averaging 15.1 yards per rush and two touchdowns.
Though the Auburn offense is currently averaging 61 points per game, we have to keep in mind that they’ve played Akron and Alabama State. Neither of those two schools are exactly world-beaters. The Tigers’ offense could be in for a rude awakening on Saturday night against this athletic Nittany Lions defense.
The Penn State defense is blessed with some linebackers who are fast and know how to tackle. Brandon Smith leads the team in tackles with 15 while Ellis Brooks is close behind with 12 (College Football at Sports-Reference.com). Nix will have to be careful where he throws the ball as this Penn State secondary already has four picks!
Penn State Offense vs. Auburn Defense
The Nittany Lions offense struggled in Week 1 but that was to be expected against a tough Wisconsin defense on the road. They fared better in Week 2 against Ball State as they put up 44 points in that game. Senior QB Sean Clifford has already thrown for 477 yards and two touchdowns so far this year.
Junior running back Noah Cain is one of the best playmakers on the Penn State offense. The 5-10 220 pounder has run for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Expect James Franklin to possibly involve Cain more in the passing game as it could be difficult to run on this huge Auburn defensive line.
With Auburn selling out to stop the run, Penn State will need to find a way to stretch out the defense with some deep play-action passes. The Nittany Lions’ main deep threat is junior Jahan Dotson who has 167 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
The Pick: Auburn Tigers +6
Happy Valley is a tough place to play so Auburn may struggle a bit with the noise in the early part of this game. However, there’s no reason Penn State should be laying this many points against an SEC team.
Look for Nix and company to keep this game close the entire evening. We think Penn State wins by three points or less so take the points with Auburn! Best of luck!