It's senior day. It's the Land Grant Trophy. It's Sparty coming to Happy Valley with hopes and dreams of BCS Bowl berths dancing in their heads. It's your BSD Staff predictions for the Michigan State Spartans.
Call me crazy, but I really think Penn State has a chance to win this Saturday against Michigan State. Michigan State has struggled the past couple of games, including last week's struggle bus game of the week against Purdue. Matt McGloin rebounded nicely against an overmatched Indiana team. Evan Royster and Silas Redd will need to find some running lanes against tackling machine (and non-pile jumper) Greg Jones. If Royster and Redd can take some pressure off of McGloin, look for Derek Moye to make MSU pay.
If Penn State is going to pull the upset off, they need the defense to play better fundmental football. Kirk Cousins is a solid QB that can make plays and has a bunch of weapons around him, especially at RB. Michauel Mauti might play, and if he does, i'm not sure how effective he will be. Chris Colosanti and Bani Gbadyu need to have the game of their lives, and on senior day, I think it's possible.
Hopefully Mark D'Antonio will be calling timeouts again with a minute left.
Prediction: Penn State 24, Michigan State 21
See, the thing about Sparty is.....they're goin down.
Prediction: Penn State 31, Michigan State 28, Land Grant Trophy 0
To me, this game comes down to one thing: Does Sparty have the guts to get it done with everything on the line?
My answer is no. Sure, Mark Dantonio has done quite a bit to change the losing culture at Michigan State, but this is still Pucker U we're talking about here. I'm a big believer in the "natural order" of college football, and that order says Michigan State just doesn't have what it takes to get it done when it counts. I expect disaster to strike early and often for the Spartans tomorrow. Interceptions, fumbles, rule technicalities, you name it.
All year, Penn State has played with expectations. Tomorrow, the Lions can just buckle up the chin straps and just bring it. Few expect them to win after the season they've had, so tightness shouldn't be an issue. It's all about 60 minutes of giving it all they have. I've seen enough from the Lions since the Illinois loss to believe a win tomorrow is well withing their grasp, They can make it happen if the capitalize on the comedy of errors Michigan State is prone to make when the pressure is greatest.
Prediction: Penn State 41 Michigan State 20
BSD Mike Says...
It wouldn't be late November if Michigan State wasn't coming into this game with something to play for. Remember in 2008 when they came in with hopes of claiming a share of the Big Ten? They got drubbed 49-18. Remember 2005 when they were hoping to get six wins and a bowl game? They lost 31-22. Or how about 2004 when they came into the game with five wins? One of the worst Joe Paterno teams of all time skunked them 37-13.
To me the whole key to this game for Penn State is getting off to a fast start. Make Michigan State play from behind so some time in the second half they have to give up the running game to catch up. If Penn State falls behind and allows Dantonio to call running plays on first and second down, Sparty will grind the Penn State defense into submission by the third quarter.
But I'm feeling good about this game. Michigan State peaked early in the season and hasn't been playing well the past few weeks just barely hanging on for wins over Purdue and Northwestern. And Iowa completely ran them out of the stadium. Penn State, on the other hand, has been playing pretty good football since the bye week after Illinois and seems to be getting better each week. Particularly on offense.
All of this spells another Happy Valley Sparty Fail. Penn State wins this one in comfortable fashion. See you in 2013, losers.
Prediction: Penn State 31, Michigan State 20