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Penn State Stays Undefeated With Blowout Win Over Maryland; Are Nittanies a Title Contender?

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Football

Updated Nov 17, 2022 · 3:40 PM PST

Penn State players running onto the field.
Penn State remains unbeaten following a matchup with Michigan, Oct 19, 2019. Photo by Ben Stanfield (flickr).
  • Penn State destroyed Maryland 59-0 in College Park on Friday Night
  • The victory has prompted online sportsbooks to shorten the Nittany Lions’ National Championship odds to +3300
  • Are they a legit title contender?

While National Title favorites Alabama and Clemson were either starting out slow or barley squeaking out victories in Week 5, Penn State was making a statement. The 12th-ranked Nittany Lions destroyed rival Maryland,  59-0, in a game that was over by the half.

The undefeated Nittany Lions have won their first four games by an average of 43.25 points and have seen their National Championship odds shorten from +9000 all the way down to +3300.

2020 CFP National Championship Odds

Team Odds
Alabama Crimson Tide +225
Clemson Tigers +250
Ohio State Buckeyes +700
Georgia Bulldogs +700
LSU Tigers +800
Oklahoma Sooners N/A
Wisconsin Badgers +2500
Auburn Tigers +2500
Utah Utes +2800
Penn State Nittany Lions +3300
Florida Gators +4000
Michigan Wolverines +5000
Washington Huskies +5000
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +5000
Texas Longhorns +6600

Odds taken on 09/29/19. Keep up to date with the latest on Maryland online sports betting.

Full of Firepower

It didn’t take long for Penn State to silence Maryland’s largest home crowd since 2011. Led by QB Sean Clifford, they scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and led 38-0 at the half.

Clifford threw for 398 yards and three scores, while the offense as a whole racked up 619 yards. The run game produced five touchdowns, giving them 15 in four games, and Clifford has a sparkling 9-1 TD to INT ratio in his first full season as a starter.

The Nittany Lions are one of just six teams in the Nation to average 50 points per game, and they lead the Big Ten in passing yards.

One of the Best Defenses in the Nation

As good as the offense has been, you could argue the defense has been even more impressive. They limited the Terps to just 128 total yards and a 46% completion percentage on Friday night, while forcing three turnovers.

Penn State has allowed the second-fewest points in the country, and have held opponents below 70 yards rushing in three of their first four games. They racked up four more sacks at Maryland, giving them 15 on the season, and have allowed just one quarterback in four games to exceed 200 yards passing.

This defense is dominant on all three levels and will give the Big Ten heavyweights nightmares this season.

Penn State’s Price is a Steal

It’s not often you can get a team ranked inside the top-5 in both points for and points against at such long odds. We’ll learn a lot more about the Nittany Lions true ceiling in the coming weeks when they square off against Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan State, but so far they’ve given us no reason not to believe they’re a legit National Championship contender.

They excel on both sides of the ball, are well coached, and certainly look like a team that’s going to be competing for a Big Ten title in December. Grab them now, because if they steam roll Purdue next week, this number is only going to get shorter.

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