Nittany Lions favored at SEC foe

Nittany Lions favored at SEC foe

The Penn State and Auburn football programs each remain unbeaten through early portions of their respective 2022 seasons, setting the stage for a second straight September matchup between 2-0 versions of the Nittany Lions and Tigers. Last year, their mid-September clash in Beaver Stadium ended in a 28-20 win for PSU, and the early betting outlook indicates confidence in a home-and-home series sweep.

As of 3 pm ET Monday, according to Caesars Sportsbook, Penn State is preparing to encounter an underdog in SEC country. That source lists the Nittany Lions as a three-point road favorite, setting the over/under for total points at 49.

Auburn started the season with home wins over Mercer (42-16) and San Jose State (24-16). Penn State opened with a 35-31 victory at Big Ten opponent Purdue, then returned to Beaver Stadium last Saturday to defeat Ohio, 46-10.

“We were able to get a win. We were able to gain a ton of experience for a bunch of players,” Nittany Lions head coach james franklin said following an afternoon in which his squad utilized more than 70 players. “We were able, for the most part, to keep our guys healthy and fresh so we can have a great week this week and take the next step as a program.”

That next step leads Penn State to Jordan-Hare Stadium, providing the program with a chance to impress a regional television audience that may not typically watch Nittany Lions action. Nearly half of PSU’s 48 games against SEC teams have occurred in a bowl setting (21 postseason contests), including an Outback Bowl loss to Arkansas last New Year’s Day.

Ranked 22nd in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll, Penn State will aim to rise over .500 against SEC representatives, as the Nittany Lions carry a 24-24 record into town. When it comes to regular-season showdowns versus SEC opponents, PSU is 11-16, with that most recent meeting coming against Auburn in the 2021 White Out.

“I want to give Auburn tons of credit,” Franklin said after that matchup. “I thought they came in here and played extremely well. I thought their quarterback played extremely well. I thought they managed the environment pretty well on the road.”

The quarterback Franklin referenced, Bo Nix, has since transferred to Oregon. A preseason QB competition at Auburn led to TJ Finley as starter, but he’s left plenty to be desired through two weeks (279 passing yards with two total touchdowns and three interceptions).

Although it secured a couple of wins, Auburn failed to cover the point spread in each of its first two contests. The Tigers were favored by 23 points against San Jose State (won by eight) and by 31.5 versus Mercer (won by 26).

Meanwhile, Penn State has covered the spread in each of its two victories. The Nittany Lions were favored by 3.5 at Purdue (won by four) and by 27.5 against Ohio (won by 36).

Kickoff between Auburn and Penn State is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET., with CBS carrying the television broadcast. The Nittany Lions lead this all-time series, 2-1.


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