Klatt: What to expect in Penn State-Illinois, Colorado State-Colorado and more

Week 3 of the college football season is upon us, and while it may not be the best slate of games, there are still several matchups I’m looking forward to.

I’ll be on the call for Saturday’s “Big Noon Kickoff” match between No. 7 State of Pennsylvania And Illinoisso I won’t give any picks in my preview of this game. But I do have picks for other notable games this weekend.

Here’s a look at what to expect in four important games on Saturday.

No.7 State of Pennsylvania has Illinois (Noon ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app)

This Penn State team is one that I really like since preseason, and the Nittany Lions have looked very good so far with a 2-0 record.

Drew Allar has been sharp so far this season. His talent has impressed me ever since I watched him in pregame warmups before his first college game last year. He’s sturdy, tall, has a strong arm, but he’s also gentle with it. He doesn’t just throw reckless throws, which is why I really believe in this Penn State team this season.

Will Drew Allar lead Penn State to a win over Illinois?

Will Drew Allar lead Penn State to a win over Illinois?

Beyond Allar, Penn State has run the ball well this season. James Franklin’s team is averaging about 135 rushing yards per game and five total touchdowns between its top two running backs — Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton — which is impressive because this isn’t an offense that really features the racing game.

Defensively, Penn State has elite players at every level. Chop Robinson and Abdul Carter were excellent for the Nittany Lions at defensive end and linebacker respectively. In the corner, Kalen King may not have the intangibles that Joey Porter Jr. had in terms of length and overall speed, but technically speaking, King is an exceptional corner.

Illinois, meanwhile, is struggling. This simply isn’t a program that can recover and reload quickly after losing so much from its team last season, which includes former defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, who is now the head coach at Purdue. He was outstanding at Illinois with that defense, which had three players selected among the first 66 picks in the NFL draft.

Isaiah Williams is their main threat on the offensive side of the ball, and quarterback Luke Altmyer has done some good things so far, but if you watched the Kansas game, this is an Illinois team that has been handled .

With Penn State being a 14.5-point road favorite in this game, that makes sense to me.

State of Colorado at n°18 Colorado (10 p.m. ET)

This is a great in-state rivalry, but these two teams couldn’t be more different at the moment.

Colorado State is not a good football team. It was completely housed in its Week 1 loss to Washington State, losing 50-24 at home. Granted, this is a very good Washington State team, but Colorado is definitely closer to this Washington State team in terms of talent than it is to Colorado State. So you can imagine where I think this game is going.

Colorado State starts Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi at quarterback, and he was the team’s backup early in the season, serving as a cleanup role for the injured Clay Millen. Plus, Colorado State doesn’t really have the speed to compete with Colorado on the road.

Will Coach Prime and the Buffs remain undefeated against Colorado State?

Will Coach Prime and the Buffs remain undefeated against Colorado State?

Of course, Colorado can’t count on the quarterback missing three snaps again, and the Buffs need to clean up their offensive line play. But do we really think Colorado State’s defensive front is as good as Nebraska’s?

I detailed last week how well Shedeur Sanders plays when he has clean pockets. He leads the nation in passing yards with 451.5 per game, and Colorado’s offense has already gotten big performances from Travis Hunter, Jimmy Horn, Dylan Edwards and Xavier Weaver. I expect Colorado’s offense to fire up and cover the 22.5-point spread on Saturday, especially since this team felt they should have beaten Nebraska by more than a score of 36-14 last week.

Western Kentucky at n°6 state of ohio (4 p.m. ET FOX on FOX and the FOX Sports App)

You may be wondering, “Why does Joel take the time to discuss this game?” »

Well, on paper it looks like the 27.5 point spread favors Ohio State too much. There’s the narrative that Ohio State hasn’t been good enough offensively this season and that its offensive line can definitely play better, which I detailed on my podcast after watching the film.

However, this is the first game Kyle McCord will play after being named a full-time starter, meaning he will get all the reps in practice this week and all the reps during the game. Ryan Day coaches quarterbacks as well as anyone in the game, and with McCord having him in his back pocket, I expect Day to make the necessary corrections.

In fact, McCord helped get things going for Ohio State’s offense against Youngstown State last week. He made a connection with Marvin Harrison Jr., who recorded seven receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Will the Big Ten dominate in Week 3?

Will the Big Ten dominate in Week 3?

Western Kentucky can spread it all over the country. The Hilltoppers finished second in assists last season and are in the top 15 in assists and goals so far this season, which some say would make it more likely that they cover the 27.5-point spread.

However, Day will be desperate to get his offense back on track with the game against Notre Dame next week. He’s going to want to give McCord all the confidence in the world as they prepare to head to South Bend, although I think this is more of a bounce-back point for the Buckeyes than an anticipation game.

I think it will be the pedal to the metal for the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe on Saturday.

No. 8 Washington has Michigan State (5 p.m. ET)

This matchup looked much more appealing in preseason, but recent developments around Mel Tucker have obviously overshadowed this matchup.

Aside from that, so far I really like Washington as it heads to East Lansing. Michael Penix has done nothing to change my mind that he is a true Heisman candidate. He also owned the Spartans during his college career. Dating back to his days at Indiana, Penix totaled 1,014 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in three games against Michigan State.

Penix’s wide receiver duo of Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan will likely help him own Sparty for the fourth time in his career. The duo has combined for 15 receptions and 227 receiving yards per game this season, scoring five total touchdowns as the Huskies have a clear away advantage.

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker suspended

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker suspended

Michigan State, meanwhile, is currently facing a complicated situation as Harlon Barnett replaces Tucker and Mark Dantonio returns to help out on the sidelines. But this just isn’t a very good Michigan State team either, and that was clear for most of last year.

Noah Kim has posted solid stats as Michigan State’s quarterback so far, throwing for 285 yards per game and five touchdowns. But it’s a much bigger step up in the competition from what he saw in the first two games, in which Michigan State beat Central Michigan and Richmond.

We all saw what Washington did against Michigan State last season, winning 39-28 in Seattle. I haven’t seen anything to suggest a better outcome for Michigan State this time around. This 16.5 point line is too small for Washington.

No. 15 Kansas State has Missouri (Noon AND)

Kansas State is only favored by 4.5 against Missouri. Does anyone know something I don’t? Everything seems to suggest that Kansas State will beat Missouri by multiple possessions.

First of all, Kansas State won this game last year, 40-12. It wasn’t close. And as we seem to do every year, we all watch Kansas State. This team is really good and no one wants to talk about it. This team won the Big 12 a year ago and beat TCU, but not Michigan.

Since Will Howard became the starting quarterback at Kansas State, he is 6-1, with his only loss coming against an Alabama team led by Bryce Young. And now they’re facing a Missouri team that has a talented former five-star recruit in Luther Burden, but I don’t think that’ll be enough. Last week against Middle Tennessee, Missouri was held to just 2.4 yards per carry.

Will No. 15 Kansas State win on the road against Missouri?

Will No. 15 Kansas State win on the road against Missouri?

On defense, Kansas State has eight sacks in two games and has allowed just one touchdown, which came last weekend in a 42-13 win over Troy.

Kansas State is going to win this game by multiple possessions…there’s no doubt in my mind.

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Joel Klatt is FOX Sports’ lead college football analyst and host of the podcast “The Joel Klatt Show.“Follow him on Twitter at @joelklatt And subscribe to the “Joel Klatt Show” on YouTube.

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