We're back for Part Two of our roundtable predictions of Penn State over/unders for the 2021 season. Be sure to check out Part One if you missed it yesterday.
Let's jump right in.
O/U 5.5 Touchdowns for brenton Strange
Matt de Bear: Under. If this was all tight ends, I'd take the over in a heartbeat, but I think Strange is going to split plenty of snaps with Theo Johnson, taking away some opportunities for tuddies.
Dan Smith: Under. It’s close, and I like Strange, but after Freiermuth’s injury, I can see them leaning a bit more on a three man rotation here with Johnson and Warren.
Vincent Lungaro: Under. Tight ends have played a big role in the red zone throughout the James Franklin era. I don't expect that to change even with Pat Freiermuth's departure, but more than five touchdowns for Brenton Strange seems a little high.
Kevin Fay: Under. This offense will have so many playmakers that while I like Strange to have a bigger role, I think everyone will eat and he will fall just short.
Nick Polak: Under. On talent alone, I think Strange could easily surpass this number. However, I expect Strange and Theo Johnson to basically split the starting reps 50-50, and I don't think we'll see as many two-tight end sets this year. I see Strange and Johnson combining for at least eight scores given what should be open over the middle of the field, but I don't think Strange beats that number on his own.
Michael Stanley: Under. There is only one reason for going under here and his name is Theo Johnson. Strange certainly flashed in relief of Pat Freiermuth, but I suspect Johnson has a good chance to take the lead role due to his higher ceiling by the end of the season.
Bill DiFilippo: Under. Mostly a hedge because I have zero idea who ends up being the guy at tight end.
O/U 2.5 Receivers with at Least 500 receiving Yards
Matt de Bear: Under. Parker Washington and Jahan Dotson are shoe-ins for 500+, but I don't know who the third would be. KeAndre Lambert-Smith is a threat, and freshman Lonnie White could surprise too, but it's hard to count on at least one of them to have that type of season.
Dan Smith: Under. Dotson and Washington will have a good chance, but I’ll believe it when I see it with the rest of them.
Vincent Lungaro: Over. Jahan, Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith are all going to benefit from Yurcich's new offense.
Kevin Fay: Over. The wide receiver room is pretty well stocked. As long as injuries are minimal, I think exactly three get there.
Nick Polak: Under. My initial reaction was to say over, but I still need to learn a bit more about the third receiver spot on the starting unit after Dotson and Washington. If KeAndre Lambert-Smith is the third starter on opening day, I'd feel good about him surpassing 500 yards, too. But I want more information before committing to this one.
Michael Stanley: Over. Parker Washington, Keandre Lambert-Smith, and Jahan Dotson should all have no problem hitting 500 yards.
Bill DiFilippo: Under. Think it's a lot like 2013, when Allen Robinson put up bonkers numbers and everyone else did a nice job, but feeding the best player was so obviously the best idea. Parker Washington, Cam Sullivan-Brown, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and the tight ends are better options than Penn State had behind Robinson, but Jahan Dotson is just a stud.
O/U 95 Tackles for Brandon Smith
Matt de Bear: Under. Smith has as much talent as just about any linebacker in the country, but until we see him put it all together, it's hard to project that sort of season.
Dan Smith: Over. The end of the 2020 season saw an encouraging sign, with Smith finally playing some passing downs. He needs to be a three-down linebacker, and a fuller offseason is hopefully what gets him there.
Vincent Lungaro: Under. Brandon Smith is going to be really, really good. It might just be a bit too early for him to approach 100 tackles, though.
Kevin Fay: Over. We have seen flashes of serious potential out of Brandon Smith and I feel like this will be a breakout year for him.
Nick Polak: Over. If for no other reason than Brent Pry NEEDS Smith to step up and become the player everyone thinks he can be. There is more pressure than ever on the former five-star prospect, and I think they'll take the kid gloves off in 2021 as far as protecting him from passing downs.
Michael Stanley: Over. Brandon Smith is arguably the second most talented linebacker to come through Penn State during James Franklin's tenure and given who the best is, that's nothing to scoff at. The game is slowing down for Smith and as he likely transitions to a more natural position for him at the WILL, I believe Smith proves why he was so highly regarded coming out of high school.
Bill DiFilippo: Under. I think Smith ends up being the big play linebacker while someone else is more constant and reliable as a tackler. Even then, one guy doing that much is a tough ask.
O/U 1000 Receiving Yards for Jahan Dotson
Matt de Bear: Over. If there's one thing we know about Mike Yurcich's offense, it is that the passing game can put up big numbers. Dotson's emergence as an all-around threat at receiver figures to mean plenty more opportunity in a system geared toward pass catchers.
Dan Smith: Under. Teams will be keying in on Dotson on the outside due to Penn State’s offense struggling to get the second outside receiver in the mix with Clifford at QB.
Vincent Lungaro: Over. Even during the team's 0-5 start a season ago, Jahan Dotson was balling out. I expect Penn State to be a lot better this year and Dotson's stardom is only going to get larger.
Kevin Fay: Over. The level of confidence Sean has in him has to be unmatched. I think he has big numbers and could be one of the first wide receivers off the board next year.
Nick Polak: Over. I think Dotson and the staff know exactly how good he can be, and how good he proved he already is a year ago. I think the presence of other weapons like Parker Washington and Brenton Strange will mean only good things for the elusive Dotson and he'll feast on yards after the catch and easily surpass 1,000 yards.
Michael Stanley: Over. This one feels too easy. Dotson has emerged as one of the best receivers in the Big Ten, if not the nation. In Yurcich's offense, he should have no problem hitting 1,000 yards.
Bill DiFilippo: Over. He's very, very good.
O/U 14.5 Sacks Allowed by Penn State For the Season
Matt de Bear: I'll say over, but not by much. 15 sacks works out to just over one per game. Even the best offensive lines and quarterbacks get caught once or twice per game. I like PSU's OL, but 14 or less is a tall task for a lot of groups.
Dan Smith: Over. I like their tackles. I’m less thrilled about the interior of the line, as well as how the quarterback handles pocket pressure.
Vincent Lungaro: Over. Every year it seems like the offensive line is projected to be a position of strength for the Nittany Lions...and every year they struggle. I just can't go against recent history.
Kevin Fay: Over. They have to replace a couple of pieces, and the tough schedule early might lead to a couple of "oops" moments that they shore up as the season goes on.
Nick Polak: Under. I've claimed "best offensive line" more than once over the past few years, but I'm pushing all of my chips into the middle of the table with this group. I think Rasheed Walker has a chance to be the best left tackle in the conference, and Juice Scruggs might be the most talented lineman in the group regardless of his lack of experience. I think this group is going to be one of the best units in the country.
Michael Stanley: Under. The offensive line is in a great spot from a talent standpoint and this offense will be focused on quicker reads so Clifford should be holding onto the ball shorter.
Bill DiFilippo: Over. Between the line not being as experienced as last year and my belief that there will be more of an emphasis on Clifford throwing and not running, he won't take off as much and will get hit more.