- Conservative play. This won't be a day for long passes and electric runs. Look for Hackenberg to hand the ball to Zwinak and work his tight ends on short slants across the middle. Allen Robinson will be in the mix, but likely not as big a factor as he's been so far.
- Deion Barnes. It'd be nice to see him get a couple sacks against Kent State, and Indiana for that matter, over the next two weeks, so he has momentum for Michigan down the road.
- The crowd. The Lions probably won't need the 12th man too badly to beat the Golden Flashes (no offense, 12th man), but how many fans will actually show up to the Lions' least intriguing matchup in less-than-appealing weather? State College's bars could have the real breakout day.
- Staying healthy. Always a major component for victories. If Penn State has more than a two-touchdown lead at some point in the third quarter, Tyler Ferguson may rise from Penn State's bench.
- John Butler. With Bill O'Brien's offensive mind, Butler's role can't be emphasized enough. His defense had an abysmal game last weekend, and he tried to explain what happened as best he could afterward. Butler doesn't seem like a guy who'd grapple with low confidence himself, but it's worth looking to see if he tries to mix some things up against Kent State.
Hackenberg +/- 2.5 passing touchdowns