HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Penn State’s annual White Out game will make its grand return to Beaver Stadium this Saturday night, with two ranked teams playing in front of a sell-out crowd.
The Nittany Lions are welcoming No. 22 Auburn into its house for the first time in program history. Penn State has shot up the college football rankings through two games, moving from No. 20 to No. 10. Auburn began the year unranked, but a pair of blowout wins have pushed the Tigers into the Top 25.
Welcoming an SEC opponent early in the season is a much different task than Ball State, a team Penn State handled 44-13 last weekend in State College. But how good is this Auburn team?
Auburn has opened the year with a pair of convincing victories on their home field. The Tigers have won these games by a combined score of 122-10. The team has been led offensively by a rushing attack averaging over 300 yards per contest and a defense that has held its opponents to less than 50 total yards combined on the ground. Senior quarterback Bo Nix has had to throw just 39 passes in the first two games and has been replaced by a backup twice because of the large margins of victory.
Quality of Wins
Considering it’s Auburn University and the fact that it’s a ranked opponent, there’s no denying the Tigers are a good program. The team’s opponents, however, make it hard to tell how good the team is. Auburn opened against Akron, a Mid-American Conference school that is now 0-2 this fall. The Tigers then hosted an FCS-level opponent in Alabama State, whose lone win this season was a one-point triumph over NCAA Division-II Miles College.
New Head Coach
In December of 2020, Auburn fired former head coach Gus Malzahn after eight seasons leading the University. The school announced the hiring of Bryan Harsin just before Christmas. Harsin moved to Auburn from Boise State, where he led a number of successful Broncos teams over seven campaigns. He had long been a target of Power 5 schools, and the Tigers were the ones to pull the trigger. Wherever Harsin has gone, he has led his teams to successful stints.
Auburn is a team that has slowly declined since winning the national championship in 2010, but it remains one of the more-renowned football schools in the country. It is a school that will get tested weekly every season, it just hasn’t been tested with a new head coach in 2021.
“We see [Penn State’s] a very good team and they have a chance to be at home,” Harsin said. “[We hope to] have ourselves ready to play on Saturday and go out there and hopefully play our best football of the season.”
Penn State and Auburn will kick off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on abc27.