Matchup: Penn State vs Boston College (-3, 40 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 27th @ 4:30 PM (EST)
Location: The Bronx, NY (Airing on ESPN)
Preview: The Penn State Nittany Lions take on the Boston College Eagles in the New Era Pinstripe bowl from Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
Times are a changing in Happy Valley, with head coach James Franklin, the bad memories of the Jerry Sandusky scandal look to be behind them, and the future is most certainly bright for the Dittany Lions. They had a decent season, finishing 6-6 and having quite a few impressive outings. They’re most impressive performance might have been a loss, going toe to toe with the Ohio State Buckeyes in a 31-24 loss to Ohio State. The Dittany Lions get it done with defense, allowing just 269 yards per game. Their run defense is tops in the nation, allowing just 84.8 yards per game. Offensively, they are averaging just 221 yards through the air and 107 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Christian Hackenburg has somewhat regressed this season, completing just 54% of his passes for 2606 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Boston College comes in to Saturday’s matchup with a record of 7-5 with a few signature wins on their resume. The Eagles shocked the world back in September, upsetting USC 37-31 as 17 point underdogs. Their offense goes through their dual threat quarterback Tyler Murphy, who has 1526 yards passing and 1079 yards rushing this season. The Eagles strength is indeed the run game, as they average 251 yards rushing per game this season, 14th in the nation. The Eagles defense is ranked 12th in the nation in total defense, allowing just 259 yards per game. Against the run they’re allowing just 93 yards per game, 4th best in the nation.
If you like physical, smash mouth football, then this is your game. I like the under in this contest. Both defenses are stout against the run, and both offenses are somewhat limited in the pass game. Two stout defensive teams you have to look to the total. As far as a side, I really like Penn State to get the cover here. After a few years of a black cloud over this program, the bowl ban was lifted and now the Nittany Lions are in a bowl. I think the players will respond behind head coach James Franklin, who is one of the better motivators in college football. Penn State wins on Saturday in a knock down, drag out slugfest.
2014 Pinstripe Bowl Pick: Penn State +3, Under 40
2014 Pinstripe Bowl Score Prediction: Penn State 20 – Boston College 17