Photo by Darian Somers
The Nittany Lions limped out of the gate against the Golden Gophers and never recovered.
The Nittany Lions limped out of the gate against the Golden Gophers and never recovered.
8-0 vs. 8-0. The No.4 Nittany Lions can taste their goals, but first have to travel to Minnesota to take on a surprising and surging Minnesota team. Can Penn State end the Golden Gophers unbeaten season? Penn State is 6.5 point favorites heading into the weekend.
Penn State has survived a gauntlet of tough matchups over the last three weeks. After their success making it through those tough games, many are already looking forward to a battle of unbeatens when the Nittany Lions head to Columbus to take in Ohio State. However, there is one problem: that gauntlet is not yet over as Penn State is on the road again to face an undefeated Minnesota team.
This game is another definite test and threat to the Nittany Lions undefeated record. As it has been for the last few weeks, it is imperative that Penn State starts fast. Kickoff is set for 11:00am local time at Minnesota, a slow sluggish start because of the early game time will not bode well for the Nittany Lions.
The biggest key to this game will be Penn State’s ability to get to the quarterback. The past two games have not played in their favor as they struggled to get any sustained pressure on the opposing quarterback. Solid defensive play starts upfront and in order for the Nittany Lions to come home with a win, the defensive line needs to get back on track.
I think the defensive line returns to form and helps limit the Minnesota offense as the Nittany Lions win another close one.
Penn State: 24 Minnesota: 14
One of the two games between undefeated teams this week, Penn State and Minnesota are both coming off bye weeks heading into this highly anticipated match-up. Penn State was tested by their recent schedule, playing at Iowa and against Michigan before beating Michigan State on the road. Now, they will start their challenging back third of their schedule in Minneapolis.
Penn State comes in as the favorite and as the #4 team in the country, and for good reason. Their big play offense is combined with their #2 ranked scoring defense.
The weather forecast is looking like a cold afternoon in Minnesota, but that shouldn’t affect Penn State QB Sean Clifford, as he excelled in throwing accurate passes in the cold rain at Michigan State. A lot will be on his plate as Penn State has yet to develop a consistent running game.
I expect Sean Clifford to lead Penn State by finding his favorite receiver KJ Hamler. In addition, I think this will be the game where WR Justin Shorter has his break out game. Shorter has just 9 catches for 109 yards. I expect him to make 5 catches for at least 75 yards and unleash his potential in this huge match-up.
Penn State takes care of business on the road and passes another test in their quest for a perfect season.
Penn State: 31 Minnesota: 17
Minnesota is good, but they don’t have the horses to run with the Nittany Lions late. All week this defense has been hearing about how big this Minnesota offensive line is. Let’s see how this high powered Golden Gopher attack does against an actual defense and a real starting quarterback–two things Minnesota hasn’t faced for over a month.
Clifford and Co. make enough plays to keep this one safe. Minnesota’s special teams is horrendous and is the difference in this one being close and this one being a 21 point win for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State: 38 Minnesota: 17
Picture by Kami Brand.
Cory Lestochi joined up with Caleb Sipe from SidelinesUMN to discuss this battle of unbeatens. You can find them on Twitter @HardcoreCollegeFootball or on Facebook @HardcoreCollegeFootball!
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What are your thoughts on the game?
The Nittany Lions were expected to lose one, maybe two games against the gauntlet of @Iowa, Michigan, and @Michigan State prior to the start of the season. Fast forward two months and Penn State has managed to navigate their way through the toughest part of their schedule. Their reward? A much needed rest.
As I wrote earlier, this is the final game in a 3-game test for the Nittany Lions. There is a reason why they are only 6.5 point favorites heading into Spartan Stadium–they don’t play well out there. Penn State hasn’t won in East Lansing since 2009. Michigan State isn’t very good, but has had an off week to prepare and has another off week after this week, which means their focus for the past 2 weeks has been entirely on upsetting the Nittany Lions. Let’s dive into predictions.
The last two years of this matchup have not played in Penn State’s favor. Michigan State has had their number, dishing them a loss in East Lansing in 2017 and another at Beaver Stadium in 2018. Penn State comes into this game still undefeated and this will provide a serious threat to that record.
The key to this game is Penn State starting fast and playing with extreme discipline. The Spartans are a well coached team that will jump on the opportunity to capitalize on the Nittany Lions’ mistakes.
If Penn State can clean up their mistakes with both on the field play and coaching, they can manage to come out on top in East Lansing Saturday.
I think Penn State starts early and ends up leaving with a close victory.
Penn State: 27 Michigan State: 20
Michigan State has been a thorn in Penn State’s side the last two seasons, pulling off the upset in both 2017 and 2018. They have the opportunity to spoil Penn State’s perfect season, yet again, if they can pull off a third straight upset of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State will have to find more consistency in their offense, as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead, but went stagnant against Michigan. They also need much more out of the running backs, as they ran for just 88 yards as a group, with 44 coming on one play by Ricky Slade.
Yes, Michigan State has allowed on average 36 points against Ohio State and Wisconsin in their last two contests. But, coming off a bye at home, this is the perfect week for them to correct their problems from the first half of the season.
Penn State wins. But, it will be a very uncomfortable victory in East Lansing.
Penn State: 17 Michigan State: 10
The whole week I was going to pick Michigan State to win. Penn State has played so poorly against the Spartans as of late and it doesn’t help that the Green & White has had two weeks to prepare.
That being said this is the worst Michigan State team Penn State’s played in the past 3 seasons and the Lions are bringing their best defense in a long time into town. Additionally, the Penn State offense has shown the ability to prevent turnovers even in hostile environments like Iowa.
Michigan State won’t be able to run the ball and I have to believe this defensive line is tired of not getting to MSU’s magician-like quarterback when he scampers around the field.
Michigan State’s season is teetering on the edge of collapse with players transferring midseason. Wouldn’t be shocked if Penn State loses a close one, but I am going to go bold and say this game is the straw that breaks the Spartans back emotionally. Penn State jumps on them early and unlike the Wolverines last week, Michigan State doesn’t pick themselves up nor do they have the playmakers to do so anyway.
Penn State: 35 Michigan State 6
At the beginning of the season most fans and writers looked at this stretch of the schedule: @Iowa, Michigan, and @Michigan State, as make-it-or-break-it for the Nittany Lions. Prior to the start of the season, all three opponents were supposed to be formidable.
It is finally here. The White Out in Happy Valley. If you want to learn more about the history and impact of the White Out, I encourage you to check out my podcast here. Penn State is about 7-point favorites going into this weeks game. Who do you have?
Another week brings another massive game for Penn State. Coming off a road win over Iowa at Kinnick, the Nittany Lions return home for the annual White Out. Like last week, this game has big implications on the Nittany Lions season.
Michigan comes into Beaver Stadium with one loss and quite a few question marks on offense. Under new offensive coordinator, former Penn State wide receiver’s coach Josh Gattis, the Michigan offense has gotten off to a slow start.
There ability to straighten out their offensive problems will be a big key to this game. With the White Out atmosphere and Penn State’s recent strong defensive play, can Michigan effectively move the ball?
Penn State is coming off tight game that didn’t start off well for the offense. It’s is imperative that the offense gets off to a hot start to get the crowd involved.
In the end, I think Penn State is able to feed off the crowd and win a close one.
Michigan: 20 Penn State: 24
Penn State got through one of their October tests by beating Iowa on the road last Saturday night. This Saturday night, the Nittany Lions are back home for the White Out game against Michigan. The Wolverines have struggled so far this season, but still stand at 5-1.
Just from watching Michigan play this season and seeing the signs of dominance Penn State has shown, it seems that Penn State should win. With their defense continuing to play well this year, in addition to Michigan’s struggles trying to learn Josh Gattis’ new offense, I think Beaver Stadium will be roaring whenever Penn State is on defense. The defense will lead Penn State to a Whiteout victory behind a multi-sack game from Yetur Gross-Matos.
Michigan 10 Penn State 24
I know, I know, I know. I was wrong. Penn State established a running game in the fourth quarter in about a decade and it cost me my prediction. Regardless, I have never been so happy to be wrong.
People are underestimating this Michigan team. I think this game will be closer than you think, but I am not sure how the Wolverines plan on scoring points. Penn State pulls away late. I’ll take the Lions at home.
Michigan: 13 Penn State 28