Roar Lions Roundtable: Hypothetical Over/Unders for 2019 - Part Two

By Matthew Filipovits on April 3, 2019 at 9:10 am
Jan 1, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) celebrates a touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half in the 2019 Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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Welcome to Part Two of our roundtable discussion of hypothetical Over/Unders for 2019. If you missed it, check out yesterday's groupthink for Part One. Without further ado, let's dive in.


O/U 10.5 Touchdowns for Pat Freiermuth

Michael Stanley: Under. With the emphasis on the running game, there simply won't be enough passing touchdowns to go around. And 10 is a huge number of touchdowns for a tight end to begin with.

Craig Fritz: Under. The all-time record for TE tuddies in a season at PSU is 11. I think Pat falls just short.

Matt de Bear: Under. Freiermuth was a true scoring threat as a freshman, but 11 tuddies just feels optimistic.

Bill DiFilippo: Under. It's not a slight against Friermuth, that's just really hard to do, especially if guys like Justin Shorter, Nick Bowers, and Zach Kuntz become viable matchup nightmares in the passing game in the red zone.

Nick Polak: Over. As mentioned yesterday, the receiver group will be talented, but inexperienced. Freiermuth has already proven himself a reliable target, especially in the red zone. Do the math.

Matt Filipovits: Under. Tight ends can quickly become a new quarterback's best friend, but I think Nick Bowers and Zack Kuntz will each have in a few red zone tuddies. I think nine is a realistic number for Freiermuth.


O/U 5.5 True Freshmen To Play Right Away*

Michael Stanley: Under. Brandon Smith may just be too talented to keep on the sideline but with Jan Johnson and Ellis Brooks manning the Mike position, he could make a splash on special teams for now. There is great buzz around both Keaton Ellis and Marquis Wilson and one of them has a great shot at being the No. 4 corner. One of Noah Cain or Devyn Ford will almost surely get in the minimum four games, especially early in the year while the staff is trying to figure out how to divide snaps. The other will head for a redshirt. John Dunmore is a real X-factor as his situation could be hugely dictated by the players in front of him but seeing how the wide receivers performed last year, it wouldn’t be unheard of if the staff turns to him the way they did Jahan Dotson late last year. Five is probably the max number of freshman that could burn their redshirts.

Craig Fritz: Under, and I think JUST under. I don't believe Noah Cain, Lance Dixon, Brandon Smith or Keaton Ellis will take a redshirt. Depending on how things shake out, there's probably one more who also will spend a year of eligibility in 2019.

Matt de Bear: Over. Brandon Smith, Lance Dixon, and Noah Cain feel like locks. I think Adisa Isaac, Keaton Ellis, and at least one of Devyn Ford or John Dunmore get in as well.

Bill DiFilippo: Under. Brandon Smith, Noah Cain, Keaton Ellis.

Nick Polak: Under. There were a number of true freshmen who saw the field in 2018, but I expect that number to be lower in 2019. Noah Cain looks primed to start fighting for snaps immediately, one of Brandon Smith and Lance Dixon will likely get snaps right away, and one of the young cornerbacks will probably get a snap or two, but that should be about it.

Matt Filipovits: Under. Brandon Smith and Noah Cain feel like locks. After watching Keaton Ellis in person, I have to imagine he's on his way to being greenlit as well. I can see them getting away with redshirting Dixon but he may play well enough in his four games that the staff has no choice but to keep playing him. Outside of that, it's hard to see anyone else breaking through.

*By play right away we mean to not take a redshirt, not play their four games and maintain a year of eligibility.


O/U 20.5 TFL for Yetur Gross-Matos

Michael Stanley: Under. I don't think people appreciate how spectacular 20.5 TFL is in a single season. He will surely be the main focus of opposing offenses next season.

Craig Fritz: Over. YGM had 20 TFL in 2018. That number is going up as the Nittany Lion DE positions himself for the top of the 2020 NFL Draft

Matt de Bear: Over. Gross-Matos got credit for 20 one season ago, and it felt like he was just scratching the surface. He'll get more attention this year, but certainly has the talent to produce.

Bill DiFilippo: Over. He had 20 last year and didn't even really start cooking until later in the year. This season, YGM establishes himself as a no-doubt first round pick in the NFL Draft.

Nick Polak: Over. Gross-Matos is an absolute freak. Put me down for 28 tackles for loss en route to becoming a top-10 pick in next year's NFL Draft.

Matt Filipovits: Under, but not by much. Teams will be double-teaming YGM a lot next season, and after losing two starters along the defensive line, I'm not confident anyone else will be able to command nearly as much attention.


O/U 42.5 Team Sacks

Michael Stanley: Over. The explosiveness and athleticism of the front seven has increased substantially over the past couple years and with the continued aggressiveness of Brent Pry's system, the team should continue to thrive in the sacks department.

Craig Fritz: Over. Since 2015, Penn State has had at least 40 sacks every season. The Wild Dogs, along with a massive influx of athleticism at linebacker, will bring all the sacks to State College.

Matt de Bear: Over. It will be close, but between the depth of talent at end, especially if Shane Simmons is healthy, and new faces like Jayson Oweh ready to take on bigger roles, Penn State can weather the loss of Kevin Givens and Shareef Miller.

Bill DiFilippo: Over. They had 47 last year and haven't had fewer than 40 since Sean Spencer came to town

Nick Polak: Over. Gross-Matos on his own will put a dent into this number, but the talent at the defensive end position is ridiculous. YGM, Shane Simmons, Shaka Toney, Jayson Oweh, and company are in for a huge season.

Matt Filipovits: Over. Sean Spencer knows how to get the most out of inexperienced players, but YGM, Simmons, and Toney could put up 30 between the three of them. Add in some insane talent at linebacker, and you have a near 50 sack season on the horizon. 

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