CHICAGO – Penn State coach James Franklin hopes to match the success of last year with the Nittany Lions. After years of struggling following the Jerry Sandusky scandal Penn State broke through last year with 11 wins, a Big Ten Title and a near miss in the Rose Bowl against USC. Franklin says everything just seemed to fall together last year.
The strength of this year’s team appears to be on offense as 10 starters are back led by quarterback Trace McSorley who last fall accounted for almost 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns. All five starters are back in the offensive line and Saquon Barkley returns at running back after rushing for over 1,400 yards last year.
Where Penn State could stand to be improved is on defense, last year they gave up 25 ppg and surrendered 52 in the bowl game loss. They recruited well this off season on that side of the ball and with six starters back they should be improved. A rivalry game with Pittsburgh highlights their non conference schedule before they begin conference action at Iowa on September 23rd. The month of October will tell the tale for the team with games against Northwestern, Michigan and Ohio State in a three week stretch. Penn State kicks off the year at home against Akron on Sept 2nd.