The end is near, Penn State football fans.
Penn State’s final regular-season game of 2017 is 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Maryland (on BTN).
The up-and-down, exhilarating and still heartbreaking campaign went so fast; and yet, Penn State’s 52-0 blowout of Akron at Beaver Stadium seems so, so long ago.
The Nittany Lions are hoping for a similar result to close out the regular season this weekend in College Park.
To prepare, here are all the Penn State preview stories, features and whatever else a Nittany Lion fan would be interested in.
Preview (Looking at the game from different angles)
Nittany Lions familiar with Maryland football: With emotional and personal connections, Penn State’s players from the DMV — Washington D.C.’s suburbs in Maryland and Virginia — will take pleasure in returning home on Saturday. “It’s awesome kind of being able to go back and play in that venue that I’m kind of familiar with, playing in my neck of the woods,” Trace McSorley said.
What to watch for: From the Terrapins’ run-down run defense to their not-so-secret receiving threat, here are five things to keep an eye on Saturday.
Penn State’s rushing woes addressed last week: Chasz Wright said the linemen came to a realization “that the stats didn’t really lie” in regards to the Nittany Lions’ anemic ground game. Penn State put up 263 rushing yards on the Cornhuskers a week ago.
Scouting the opponent: To help break down the Terrapins, we spoke to Maryland beat writer Roman Stubbs from The Washington Post.
Updates on Manny Bowen, Irvin Charles: Bowen, whose 51 tackles still ranks third on the team, was missed Penn State’s 35-6 win over Rutgers due to “a violation of team rules,” and didn’t play against Nebraska, either. Charles — a key member of Penn State’s punt team — missed the Nebraska game.
Features (Getting to know the Nittany Lions)
Where Saquon Barkley ranks among Penn State running backs: Saquon Barkley is a Heisman candidate and a special player. But what will his legacy be with the Nittany Lions when his career is finally over? Former players and a historian weigh in.
Why Barkley has a better chance to win Maxwell than Doak Walker Award: A column on why the nation’s best running back has a better chance of being recognized as college football’s top player than best rusher.
Stevens not satisfied, but handling situation well: Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens could probably start — but as he bides his time behind McSorley, the redshirt sophomore does so with aplomb. “Just to see Tommy be patient, always interacting with the guys, trying to help the team in any way possible, I commend him for that,” senior safety Marcus Allen said.
College Football Playoff analysis: The Nittany Lions remained in the top 10. But where does Penn State stand in the New Year’s Six bowl picture? And who should Nittany Lion fans root against this weekend?
5 Questions with Evan Royster: Royster — the Nittany Lions’ all-time leading rusher and a former Washington Redskins back — joined us for “Five Questions” to discuss the John Cappelletti, life after football and more.
Miscellaneous (Other PSU stuff you might be interested in)
Barkley, Gesicki named national award finalists: Barkley is one of three candidates for the Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award — given to the nation’s top player and best running back, respectively. And Gesicki is one of three finalists for the Mackey Award, which goes to college football’s finest tight end.
Predictions (For Penn State-Maryland and elsewhere in the Big Ten)
No. 10 Penn State at Maryland, 3:30 p.m. BTN
Josh Moyer: Penn State 41-17
John McGonigal: Penn State 38-10
Nate Cobler: Penn State 43-13
Ryne Gery: Penn State 38-13
Gordon Brunskill: Penn State 38-20
No. 9 Ohio State at Michigan, noon FOX
Josh Moyer: Ohio State 24-13
John McGonigal: Ohio State 21-10
Nate Cobler: Ohio State 38-17
Ryne Gery: Ohio State 31-24
Gordon Brunskill: Michigan 24-12
Indiana at Purdue, noon ESPN2
Josh Moyer: Indiana 28-27
John McGonigal: Purdue 30-17
Nate Cobler: Purdue 30-10
Ryne Gery: Indiana 24-17
Gordon Brunskill: Indiana 33-28
No. 5 Wisconsin at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. ABC
Josh Moyer: Wisconsin 38-21
John McGonigal: Wisconsin 41-28
Nate Cobler: Wisconsin 20-7
Ryne Gery: Wisconsin 35-14
Gordon Brunskill: Wisconsin 42-10
No. 16 Michigan State at Rutgers, 4 p.m. FOX
Josh Moyer: Michigan State 30-10
John McGonigal: Michigan State 24-3
Nate Cobler: Michigan State 30-3
Ryne Gery: Michigan State 28-7
Gordon Brunskill: Michigan State 24-10
No. 22 Northwestern at Illinois, 4 p.m. FS1
Josh Moyer: Northwestern 31-17
John McGonigal: Northwestern 35-16
Nate Cobler: Northwestern 27-7
Ryne Gery: Northwestern 27-10
Gordon Brunskill: Northwestern 27-6
No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn, 3:30 p.m. CBS
Josh Moyer: Alabama 34-30
John McGonigal: Auburn 27-24
Nate Cobler: Alabama 20-17
Ryne Gery: Alabama 31-20
Gordon Brunskill: Auburn 34-30
Overall prediction standings: Ryne Gery 69-19, Josh Moyer 68-20, John McGonigal 67-21, Nate Cobler 67-21, Gordon Brunskill 66-22