After a well-earned victory over Syracuse, Penn State hosts Eastern Michigan on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions got a big performance from freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg against the Orange in the 23-17 victory in Week 1. While the inexperienced signal-caller did toss two interceptions, he also threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan is coming off a 34-24 victory over Howard. In the win, junior quarterback Tyler Benz threw for 210 yards with two touchdowns to one interception. Junior running back Bronson Hill added 101 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Let's take a look at the matchup on Saturday.
When: Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
Watch: Big Ten Network
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Penn State -24
Eastern Michigan Injuries (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
Penn State Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: TE Matt Lehman (Knee), DE Brad Bars (Undisclosed)
Questionable: TE Kyle Carter (Undisclosed), TE Brent Wilkerson (Back)
Probable: LB Mike Hull (Knee)
Top Storyline: The Development of Christian Hackenberg
After Penn State lost quarterback Matt McGloin in the offseason, there were a lot of questions concerning how Christian Hackenberg would fare under center.
Well, Hackenberg showed a lot of good things against Syracuse. He needs to take better care of the football, but he showed he could put points up on the board for the Lions.
Hackenberg spoke of his transition to the collegiate level after the game.
The youngster said, according to the Associated Press, per ESPN.com:
It's a big change. This coaching staff has helped me get through this. The team has helped me get through this, just really trying to immerse myself in the team and what the coaches are preaching every day.
The Orange wisely blitzed often in Hackenberg's first game as Penn State's starter. But Hackenberg showed a lot of promise out there on the field. You can bet he will be working on picking up the blitz this week.
Eastern Michigan figures to be an easier opponent for Hackenberg to throw against. We'll see if he continues to grow under center.
Prediction: Penn State 31, Eastern Michigan 10
Penn State has a solid defense, and the development of Christian Hackenberg will only equate to the Nittany Lions capitalizing on more scoring opportunities.
Eastern Michigan doesn't have the talent of Penn State, and that will be evident come Sunday, particularly in University Park.
I like what I saw from Hackenberg, and the defense looks like it's ready to build on an impressive display in 2012. Expect Penn State to roll over Eastern Michigan, using some tweaks in the play-calling to give Hackenberg a better running game.