San Diego State Aztecs at Penn State Nittany Lions (-15)
The running game showed up in a big way for the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-1, 2-0 Home) putting up over 300 yards in a lopsided 28-3 win over Rutgers. Freshman RB Saquon Barkley will try to stay hot this Saturday when the suddenly surging squad hosts the struggling San Diego State Aztecs (1-2, 0-1 Away) at Beaver Stadium (3:30 PM Eastern).
Barkley was the star in the win over Rutgers, piling up 195 yards and two scores on 21 carries. His superhuman effort helped the Nittanies cover as ten-point favorites. He wasn’t the only member of the Penn State backfield to have a big day, though; junior tailback Akeel Lynch had 120 yards and one touchdown of his own on just ten carries.
“I think Saquon Barkley has brought something to our offense. I think him and Akeel are a nice one-two punch right now,” Penn State coach James Franklin told the Associated Press after the game.
The Nittanies can largely credit the o-line for their modest two-game win streak. After dropping their opening game in embarrassing fashion – by giving up ten sacks to a mediocre Temple squad – the unit has responded by keeping QB Christian Hackenberg upright for 120 minutes straight.
The Aztecs, on the other hand, have struggled over their last two games, losing 35-7 to the Cal Golden Bears and 34-27 (OT) to the South Alabama Jaguars. Those setbacks game after a dominant 37-3 win over the rival San Diego Toreros in Week 1.
The loss to the Jaguars was particularly painful. The Aztecs were 17.5-points favorites and held a 27-24 lead with 2:05 left in regulation. But they gave up a 71-yard TD drive in the dying minutes to fall to 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS on the year. They may be hard-pressed to get their first ATS win of the season this week, too – despite having 15 points to work with; Penn State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight non-conference games.
Pick: Penn State (-15).
(Photo credit: Ben Stanfield (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)