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Penn State football: Strengths & Weaknesses of West Virginia

Get to know the Penn State football opponent for week 1 – the West Virginia Mountaineers



Penn State football, West Virginia
Sep 29, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; A general view as Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) prepares to take a snape against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time during the 2023 college football season, it’s game week. The Penn State football team will host the West Virginia Mountaineers this Saturday at 7:30 pm EST on NBC. The Nittany Lions are currently a 20.5-point favorite in this matchup according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Since this is one of the three non-conference games that Penn State will play during the 2023 season, it’s important to note the strengths and weaknesses of this West Virginia team.

Penn State football: Strengths & Weaknesses of West Virginia

Starting with the strengths of this West Virginia team, their best weapon is the offensive line. In 2023 head coach Neal Brown is certainly on the hot seat after a few underwhelming seasons. A change he made this offseason was promoting former running backs coach Chad Scott to offensive coordinator.

That promotion should serve as a strength on this team. Running the football is where the bulk of their offensive production will come from. This West Virginia team returns all five starters among the offensive line from last season. Presumably, the starting quarterback will be Garrett Greene who is a legitimate dual threat. Last season Greene accounted for 493 passing yards on 78 attempts, he threw 5 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. But where he is dangerous is when he runs the football. Last season he racked up 276 rushing yards averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He also added 5 rushing touchdowns last season as well.

The other weapons to be aware of are running back C.J. Donaldson who added 526 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns last season. Also, NC State transfer WR Devin Carter, who actually committed to Penn State this offseason before flipping to West Virginia.

Weaknesses of West Virginia

To put it lightly, where West Virginia is expected to be the weakest is on the defensive side of the ball. In 2022 the Mountaineers gave up 32.9 points per game on defense, which ranked 116th in the FBS. They lost a lot of depth on the defensive line DE Dante Stills who plays for the Arizona Cardinals now. Also, they lost DT Jordan Jefferson to LSU in the transfer portal.

The Nittany Lions will see a friendly face among the defensive line with Fatorma Mulbah who transferred from Penn State to West Virginia this offseason. But overall the defense will have their hands full with Penn State especially trying to compete with the Nittany Lion offensive line.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Penn State chooses to test the West Virginia interior defensive line early and often to wear down the inexperienced players. On paper, the Nittany Lions should be able to take care of business, with the Penn State crowd roaring behind them.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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