Records: Kent State (1-2), Penn State (2-1).
When/Where: Today, 3:30 p.m./Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.
TV/Radio: Big Ten Network/WHLO 640 AM.
Head Coaches: Paul Haynes, Kent State (1-2, 1st year); Bill O'Brien, Penn State (10-5, 2nd year).
Last Year's Records: Kent State (11-3); Penn State (8-4).
Series: Penn State leads 3-0, winning each game at home.
Latest Line: Penn State by 21.
Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions will look to bounce back after falling at home 34-31 to UCF last Saturday. Senior running back Zach Zwinak (6-foot-1, 240 pounds) rushed for 128 yards on just 21 carries and scored a career-high three touchdowns in that game, but had a key fourth-quarter fumble. ... Zwinak rushed for over 1,000 yards last year, and is one of three Penn State running backs that have cracked 100 yards in a game already this season, along with junior Bill Belton (5-10, 205) and redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch (6-0, 211). ... Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg (6-4, 220) has completed nearly 72 percent of his passes (66-of-92) for 851 yards and four touchdowns, with three of his four scoring strikes covering 45 yards or more. Hackenberg has thrown three interceptions. ... Reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the nation in receiving yards (405, 17.6 yards per catch). The 6-3, 210-pound junior has caught a TD pass in all three games this season. ... Penn State's offense is averaging 33 points and over 460 yards per game, but has struggled in two critical statistical areas. The Nittany Lions have committed seven turnovers, and converted just 4-of-34 third-down attempts (12 percent). ... Penn State's defense will give Kent State's struggling rushing attack another stiff test. The Nittany Lions are allowing just 117 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry on the ground. ... The PSU defense is anchored by senior tackle DaQuan Jones (6-3, 318), who leads the Big Ten with five tackles for a loss and has recorded two sacks, along with a team-high 23 tackles overall. Also look out for redshirt sophomore end Deion Barnes, who is off to a slow start this year (5 tackles, 2 QB hurries), but was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after recording six sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2012.
An extremely tough early season stretch of games continues for the Flashes with a trip to Penn State, following losses at home to Bowling Green and at No. 8 LSU last week. The three teams Kent State has played thus far in 2013 have a combined 7-2 record (Liberty 2-1, Bowling Green 2-1, LSU 3-0). ... On the injury front, senior speedster Dri Archer (ankle) and senior left guard Pat McShane (knee) are not expected to play today. Senior strong safety Luke Wollet, KSU's leading tackler (24), will likely start despite nursing knee and shoulder injuries. ... Senior DT Roosevelt Nix, who is playing through a nagging back injury, is second among active FBS players in career tackles for a loss (56), fifth in forced fumbles (10) and 14th in sacks (21.5). ... Redshirt freshman quarterback Colin Reardon's impressive start to his collegiate career continued with another strong effort last week at LSU (20-of-29, 190 yards, 2-yard TD run). Reardon has completed 56-of-85 passes for 548 yards and four touchdowns, and has yet to throw an interception. He's also rushed for 106 yards and a score. ... Reardon isn't the only newcomer making a splash for KSU this season. Among those playing as true freshmen are Elcee Refuge, who is seeing extensive time on special teams and in the defensive backfield; twins Nick and Nate Holley, who are playing on special teams; Eric Church, who is also on special teams and could see some action in the defensive backfield today; running back Roman Clay (special teams); and Wayne Scott, who has taken several snaps in each game on the offensive line. ... Senior wide receiver Tyshon Goode (150 career catches) needs two receptions to move into second place in career catches at KSU. He leads the team this season with 14 receptions (120 yards), while junior Chris Humphrey has caught 13 passes for a team-best 186 yards and two scores. ... Since last season, Kent State is 11-1 when out-gaining opponents on the ground, including 1-0 this season. ... Goode, Archer, senior CB Darius Polk and Nix were in uniform when Penn State defeated Kent State 24-0 in the last matchup between the two teams in 2010. ... The Flashes' defense has surrendered 1,147 yards and 86 points in its last two games, losses to BG (41-22) and LSU (45-13). ... The Flashes are 0-9 all-time against Big Ten teams. ... Kent State's three-game road trip concludes next Saturday with a visit to MAC rival Western Michigan (0-3).
-- ALLEN MOFF