Predictions are all over the map for Penn State Football heading into this season, but the Nittany Lions look like a team that should be really deep and could surprise many with how talented they are.
Especially if this highly touted freshman class makes an immediate impact.
Below, we break down each game and give a prediction and some insight into how this season is going to turn out for James Franklin and company.
Here are our latest game-by-game predictions for Penn State Football this season
Week 1 @ Purdue
Penn State Football will travel to West Lafayette to open their season once again on the road with a Big Ten foe.
Purdue went 9-4 last season, ending their season on a high note with a dramatic bowl victory over Tennessee. They return one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten in Aidan O’Connell, but he will be without his top three targets from a year ago.
West Lafayette will be blacked out and should be full throat for this one, an opportunity for Purdue to have a moment on national television and upset the Nittany Lions.
Penn State Football will reap the advantage of having an experienced quarterback in Sean Clifford to manage the hostile road environment.
The offense should move the ball and will get immediate contributions from the young running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Expect Zakee Wheatley to make a big play in this one.
Prediction: Penn State Football 31, Purdue 20 (1-0, 1-0)
Week 2 vs Ohio
The Lions will return home for the first time in 2022, and should handle business with relative ease in this one.
It feels like centuries ago Ohio walked into Beaver Stadium in 2012 and left with a win.
Ohio went 3-9 last season and are struggling to rebuild that roster and were non competitive against power five opponents in 2021.
This could be a chance for the Nittany Lions to get backup quarterback Drew Allar his first playing time in the case where he needs to take meaningful snaps at one point this season.
Prediction: Penn State 45, Ohio 10 (2-0, 1-0)
Week 3 @ Auburn
Auburn just recently announced that TJ Finley will be the starting quarterback for the Tigers this season.
Finley started the final three games of the year for Auburn in 2021 including a bowl loss to Houston, so this game will once again be about stopping Tank Bigsby and Jacquez Hunter on the ground.
The Lions will once again face a hostile environment in this one, but should be battle tested no matter the outcome in Week 1, after going to West Lafayette.
This is another chance for Clifford to continue to rewrite the narrative on himself.
Penn State Football should have an advantage with their wideouts against a secondary that lost Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday to the NFL.
Prediction: Penn State Football 24, Auburn 21 (3-0, 1-0)
Week 4 vs Central Michigan
This game could be a lot closer than many Penn State Football fans may expect, especially coming off an emotional victory over Auburn on the road the week before.
CMU has one of the best players in the country you have not heard of in running back Lew Nichols III. Nichols ran for 1,850 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.
A Nittany Lions defense that could have issues at linebacker may have more trouble with Nichols then they wish, but offensively they should get whatever they want. This would be a good game for them to establish the run game as well to keep Nichols off the field.
Prediction: Penn State Football 28, Central Michigan 17 (4-0, 1-0)
Week 5 vs Northwestern
The Lions will kickoff the remainder of the Big Ten schedule with a visit from Northwestern.
The Wildcats looked impressive in their Week zero victory over Nebraska ,and may be much improved on the offensive side of the ball compared to 2021.
This will be another test for Penn State Football’s run defense.
Northwestern always manages to have a stingy defense and be well disciplined under head coach Pat Fitzgerald but Penn State should have advantages just about everywhere in this matchup and it is tough to see Northwestern walking into Happy Valley on homecoming weekend and ruining the Lions perfect season to this point.
Prediction: Penn State Football 27, 13 (5-0, 2-0)
Week 7 @ Michigan
Penn State Football will travel to Ann Arbor following a well timed bye week, in a meeting that could be a top-five or top-ten matchup in the Big House.
Michigan will be coming off a trip to Iowa a few weeks before this one, but faces an easy schedule before that.
The Wolverines lost a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball to the NFL Draft, but there is little reason to think they won’t reload on that side of the ball.
Michigan may actually be better on offense in 2022 with the return of wide receiver Ronnie Bell.
Penn State Football will have faced two tough road environments by this time, but Michigan poses a tough test for the Lions along both lines of scrimmage and if this secondary can reload, make life tough on the Lions position players as well.
Prediction: Michigan 24, Penn State Football 20 (5-1, 2-1)
Week 8 vs Minnesota
This one will actually be the annual “White Out” at Beaver Stadium in what figures to be a night game in Happy Valley.
Minnesota is interesting with the return of offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarroccato once again to work with quarterback Tanner Morgan. They will boast one of the best running games in the conference with running back Mohammed Ibrahim returning after a season ending injury in 2021.
At this point in the year, the young running backs for Penn State Football Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Alllen should be full go and will be huge contributors in this one.
Minnesota gave up almost 100 yards a game on the ground last season and Sean Clifford in his final white out gets the job done.
Prediction: Penn State Football 30, Minnesota 21 (6-1, 3-1)
Week 9 vs Ohio State
A lot of the preseason talk around this one has centered around the kickoff time of the game, especially after Minnesota was dubbed the white out.
No matter what time this one is played, likely noon, Beaver Stadium should be rocking with Ohio State in town.
Led by the best offense in the country and quarterback CJ Stroud, the Buckeyes have little to no weaknesses especially if they can turn their defense around under new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
The Lions will have to score, and score, and score some more to keep up in this one, but have played Ohio State closer than anyone else in the Big Ten over the past five or six years.
Last season it was just a few mistakes by Sean Clifford that undid Penn State but having the home crowd will help here.
There is a path to see how a balanced offensive attack can put up 30 plus points and take down the Buckeyes, however until proven otherwise it is too tough to call for the upset at this point.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Penn State Football 33 (6-2, 3-2)
Week 10 @ Indiana
James Franklin’s squad has struggled in the past in the week following a loss to Ohio State and a trip to sleepy Bloomington Indiana to face a Hoosiers team that will likely not be all that good is another dangerous spot for the Lions.
Transfer quarterback Connor Bazelak should give the offense a boost, but this roster is a shell of the one from 2020 that upset Penn State Football in week one.
The Hoosiers were solid defensively last year but lost the heartbeat of their defense in Micah McFadden to the NFL and should be a defense the Lions can attack.
This has all the makings of a slow, boring game where Penn State never really gets going but handles their business and avoids an upset at the hands of Indiana.
Prediction: Penn State Football 26, Indiana 7 (7-2, 4-2)
Week 11 vs Maryland
Maryland is at the center of a lot of hype this offseason led by quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and what should be a menacing passing attack.
Penn State Football is actually a very good matchup with the Terps, though, as their secondary figures to be the strength of the team and should keep this passing attack in check.
Offensively, this is another game they should get what they want and could be a good matchup for them to get the ground game going once again, and could be a huge day for Singleton on the ground and Washington through the air.
In one of his last games at Beaver Stadium, Clifford puts up big numbers in this one.
Prediction: Penn State Football 35, Maryland 24 (8-2, 5-2)
Week 12 @ Rutgers
The last road trip of the season is a short one to Piscataway, New Jersey to meet the much improved Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers still has to figure out the quarterback position, and will be out talented at almost every position by the Nittany Lions, but head coach Gerg Schiano has that program headed in the right direction.
Penn State Football could be on upset alert here, but is just too good to let this one slip away.
Manny Diaz’s defense will make life very difficult on the Knights offense and in a game that has all the makings of a meticulous offensive effort, much like the Indiana game, the Lions handle business in non-emphatic fashion.
Prediction: Penn State Football 27, Rutgers 10 (9-2, 6-2)
Week 13 vs Michigan State
The season finale is once again a clash with Michigan State in a matchup that just feels right for the last week of the season.
Revenge will be on the minds for Penn State Football after last season’s tough defeat in a blizzard in East Lansing.
The Spartans are a tough squad to predict coming into this year, as they once again turned to the transfer portal to fill out their roster.
Losing running back Kenneth Walker III will be tough to replace and last year Michigan State ranked dead last in the FBS against the pass. They should be improved this season, but should still be a defense that Clifford and company can expose through the air. Weather can always be a factor this time of the year in State College, but the Lions will get their revenge in this one.