Penn State prediction vs. Central Michigan: How will young guns handle growing spotlight?
Penn State will go as far as some of its young stars push them this fall.
Saturday will be a time for many of them to get another quality workout leading up to the biggest tests of the season.
Lots of Nittany Lions catching passes and running the football and making tackles. How else best to describe another scrimmage of sorts against a team from the Mid-American Conference? Things probably won't look much different against Central Michigan as they did two weeks earlier against Ohio University.
The Chippewas probably own a more balanced, competent offense but will still be outmanned and overmatched.
The best part of a day like this is how so many promising freshmen and sophomores should get early rotation work − guys Penn State needs to continue developing at this rapid pace to keep this team improving through the season's second half.
When the opponents become Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State.
More work for promising receivers like Tre Wallace and Omari Evans, for safeties Jaylen Reed and Zakee Wheatley, for defensive linemen Zane Durant and Dani Dennis-Sutton.
For quarterback Drew Allar.
They will be needed for quality depth all season.
More seasonsing, too, for running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen and linebackers Abdul Carter and Kobe King and defensive end Chop Robinson. They're playing big roles now. Can they all grow into standouts/stars over the next month?
While the veterans like sixth-year quarterback Sean Clifford will ultimately lead this team, those younger players will determine, truly, how far it will go.
So this is a different kind of non-conference outing as a four-touchdown favorite than in previous seasons. This won't be rare backup time rewards for little-used players with the hope of building depth.
This about providing the proper time for hopeful stars to blossom right in front of you.
For the "now," so to speak.
And Central Michigan should oblige enough with competition. Daniel Richardson is one of the MAC's top quarterbacks and tailback Lew Nicholls III led the nation in rushing last year (1,848 yards, 16 TDs).
Enough work, then, to help get the Lions' youngest, most crucial players a little bit better yet.
Bodani's pick: Penn State 52, Central Michigan 17
Frank Bodani covers Penn State football for the York Daily Record and USA Today Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @YDRPennState.