Penn State is a fascinating team to cover going into the 2022 season because there seems to be a lack of consensus opinion on just what to expect out of the program this fall after two mediocre seasons in the past two years. Athlon Sports released its Big Ten predictions for the upcoming season and Clubber Lang from “Rocky III” probably sums up the upcoming Penn State season-best.
Athlon Sports predicts Penn State will finish in fourth place in the Big Ten East this season, coming behind Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State in that particular order.
Here’s some of what Athlon Sports had to say about the Nittany Lions in 2022, focusing on the success of the offense as a key to the team;
It’s a crucial year for Penn State to get the program back on track after an 11-11 mark over the last two seasons. Also, after a 5-0 start last fall, the team went 2-6 over the last eight matchups. Reversing that trend starts on offense. Quarterback Sean Clifford has to play with more consistency, but the senior also needs more help from a shaky offensive line that surrendered the most sacks (44) of any team in the Big Ten. In addition to better pass protection, the line has to improve it’s run blocking after the Nittany Lions failed to have a 100-yard rusher and managed just 2.96 yards per carrying in ’21. Assuming Clifford takes a step forward and the line improves, the skilled talent – receiver Parker Washington and talented true freshman running back Nick Singleton headline the key returning playmakers – is there for the offense to improve (25 points a game last fall).
Penn State’s offense is certainly in the spotlight this season as it is the biggest thing holding the Nittany Lions back from competing for a Big Ten. There appears to be talent and potential at key positions on the offensive side of football, but establishing a consistently viable offense is the hurdle to clear in 2022. Improving the offensive line’s stability is a big starting point for everything else to fall into place.
Check out the rest of Athlon Sports’ Big Ten predictions to see how the rest of the conference is predicted to shape out this fall.
Every Penn State player on Athlon Sports preseason All-Big Ten selections
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