Before I get into talking about the matchups, just take a second and stare in awe at those defensive numbers for Penn State. We're ranked in the top ten in rushing defense, passing defense, opponent QB rating, and scoring defense. Four of those are top five rankings. And we're ranked #14 in 3rd down defense and #20 in sacks. For all the crap we give our defense at times, those are some pretty historical numbers. I don't care what your level of competition is.
Michigan State is a middle of the road team. They don't excell or suck at anything. Most of their rankings fall in the mushy 30-75 range. So it's going to be hard for Penn State to dominate them in anything. They are a good team that isn't going to beat themselves.
I'm a little surprised by their offensive rushing yardage. With all the talk about Javon Ringer for Heisman I figured they would be averaging over 200 yards per game. What's interesting here is that while MSU is averaging 148 yards per game, Ringer is averaging 140 yards per game. So yeah, he's all they got. The next highest rusher on the team only has 97 yards for the season. Considering the way Penn State held P.J. Hill, John Clay, Beanie Wells and Shonn Greene (relatively) in check I think we'll do the same against Ringer. But if he's getting four yards on more on first downs look out.
So while Penn State holds the advantage in nearly every statistical category, only one or two of them can be considered a blowout. All of the evidence points to this being a close game, but one that Penn State should win by a score or two.