Nittany Lions to host west coast team, look to prove that the East Coast is the ‘Beast Coast’

Nittany Lions to host west coast team, look to prove that the East Coast is the ‘Beast Coast’

In their third home game of five, the Nittany Lions will take on the San Diego State Aztecs this Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. Stepping outside of conference play after an incredible rout of Rutgers last week, the team and fans are confident that the Lions will once again end up victorious.

The Aztecs, who are currently 1-2 after two devastating losses in a row (Cal, 35-7 and an OT loss to South Alabama, 34-27), are hungry for a win. San Diego has some talent in junior running back Donnel Pumphrey (Las Vegas, Nev.) after his first 100 yard rushing campaign of the 2015 season this past week as well as standout sophomore Rashaad Penny (Norwalk, Calif.), who is the ranked fifth nationally in kick return averages at 37.3 yards per return. It will be the first-ever meeting between Penn State and San Diego State.

Penn State, coming off of the electrifying 28-3 win against Rutgers, could not be more pumped up for this weekend. Proving that they are a team that has the capabilities to not only fix their former errors, but perfect their strengths, the Nittany Lions won all four games ever played against a Mountain West team. The Aztecs are 4-12 when it comes to Big Ten play.

Already poised beyond his years, true freshman running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) is one of the most valuable players on the squad this season, and was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week for two weeks in a row. During the players’ press conference this week, sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) spoke highly of Barkley, saying, “ he’s the whole package…the fact that we’re able to have running backs like and … it helps the wide receiver and our passing game.”

In the last two games, Penn State achieved a total of 530 rushing yards, the most in two games since 2009. With increased accuracy in ball movement, the wide receivers and running backs have been able to create better passing opportunities, which has in turn led to more trips to the end zone.

Penn State currently leads the nation in both tackle for loss yardage (159) and sack yardage (115). Linebacker U could not be more appropriate than at the present. Senior defensive end Carl Nassib (West Chester, Pa.) was once again a force this past week against Rutgers, with key tackles that ended numerous drives from Rutgers, and two weeks ago, Nassib achieved six tackles against Buffalo. Spectators this weekend can once again expect to see a nearly perfect defense do what they do best: ruin the opponent’s day.

Outside the realm of prepping for what is shaping up to be a win for the squad the players press conference took a turn and focused on the more personal sides of some of the players. Sophomore cornerback Grant Haley, a fan favorite for his explosive play and sweet demeanor off the field, gave great insight into his intense dedication to all things Penn State: “I had committed to Vanderbilt my senior season. Then when Coach Franklin… asked me to come up for a visit, I immediately said yes…” Haley went on to say that, “When I got , one of the first things I saw was the stadium lights… I just kind of fell in love.” Haley is not only a star on the field thanks to his speed and intelligence, he is a determined academic as well: “I’m a guy that loves school… really drive me academics first.”

Penn State work ethic is unbeatable. Whether it is on the field or in the classroom, a Nittany Lion knows how to give it his all and come away with a success. Thriving off of the energy from last weekend, the fans and the team are ready for the Aztecs. The question is, are the Aztecs ready for the pack of lions that awaits them at Penn State? Be there at Beaver Stadium at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday to find out.

Contributing Sources: