Penn State – Wisconsin Predictions
Matchup: Penn State Nittany Lions @ Wisconsin Badgers
Where: Camp Randall Stadium
When: Saturday, September 4th @ 12:00pm EST
Penn State Football is BACK! In one of the most highly anticipated season openers in recent memory, #19 Penn State is traveling to Camp Randall to face #12 Wisconsin. A rematch of the 2016 Big Ten Championship, a victory for either school will give a lot of early momentum in hopes of winning the 2021 Big Ten Championship. Here is what the For The Glory team foresees once the Nittany Lions 2021 opener.
Brandon Musso (0-0)
Last year’s COVID shortened season was one of strangest seasons we’ll probably ever see. There wasn’t much that I was admittedly able to predict correctly, from five straight losses to open the season, to four straight wins to close the season. This year, I think we’re all hoping that this season turns out much more normal.
The upside is that Penn State finished the season with some great momentum with those four straight wins. The downside is that they waste no time getting into the thick of the season. It’s not only a road game but its also Wisconsin, one of the best the B1G West has to offer. I find the two teams to be pretty evenly matched on paper so I think this will be a close and hard fought battle the whole way.
The biggest key to this game is the level of play Sean Clifford brings. His season last year was the definition of up and down. He can be good but the gripe of his career so far has been his consistency. Sometimes you don’t know what your going to get out of him in any given game. If he’s playing at his highest level, Penn State can win this tough road matchup.
Enough with the hypotheticals though and onto the predictions. In the end, I think he’ll play well but some early season struggles will be the downfall. The best way to describe it is: good but not good enough. Some late turnovers will turn this game into a Wisconsin win.
Penn State 24
Kraigen Rasalla (0-0)
Of course a ranked opponent in the opening week of the season is a huge challenge. But, an opponent with the style of play of Wisconsin makes it an even bigger challenge. Traditionally, Wisconsin likes to run the football, dominate with their offensive line and control the clock. This is a style Penn State has struggled to contain in recent years. That style becomes an even bigger factor when Penn State has to replace numerous defensive lineman including 1st round pick Jayson Oweh.
I am excited to see the offense. They return their biggest playmaker in Jahan Dotson and added a few transfers and impact freshmen to what could be an exciting offense. As was the case in 2020, the biggest key is what kind of Sean Clifford will we get. Will he be turnover prone? Or, will he make big plays while avoiding the big mistake? Going on the road in a hostile environment, I think it is more likely we see the turnover prone Sean Clifford.
I think this is a close one as Penn State has a lot of talent all over the field. But, home field advantage and a less turnover prone offense helps Wisconsin take a highly anticipated season opener.
Penn State 20
Cory Lestochi (0-0)
Nice to be back predicting games again. Penn St started last season off so poorly and now this year the Nittany Lions had to install another new offense over the off-season. Traveling to Madison to play a strong Badger defense is not what the doctor ordered. How much has Sean Clifford improved? My guess is not enough. Inconsistency killed the cat (Nittany Lions). Wisconsin wins in a painful one.
Penn State 20