This team is not far removed from staring at a four game losing streak, except for the boneheaded coaching of Borges/Hoke and Tim Beckman. Unfortunately, the staff at Minnesota is extremely capable, and likable, and while I'm not expecting another Indiana/Ohio State road blowout, being on the other side of Michigan/Illinois decision seems very likely.
The Gopher offense has been steadily improving and the blueprint for victory against Penn State is well established this year. Until Hack and offense start to become more consistent, the youth and limitations of this team are such that, outside of Purdue, another victory will be a difficult proposition.
I certainly hope I'm wrong.
bscaff: "It's crazy how people care about you when you're in that MNC title hunt, but once you go 5 - 3, you're ancient history."
"You ain't ancient history."
"Nobody's asking for autographs."
"Can I ask you something?"
"This fight you're having against the Gopher...do you think maybe it ain't against him?"
"Well, if it's not against him, Rock, then who is it against?"
"Do you think maybe, you know, it's you against you?"
"I think you really are getting brain damaged. That's what I think, Stallion."
"Yeah, maybe, but...I'm speaking the truth, Apollo."
"I don't think I want to hear this."
"Apollo, you're a great defense. No doubt about that. But we have to face the facts too. You don't want to believe it, but maybe the season is over."
"That's easy for you to say, man. You're still on top. What happens when you're not on top? Then what? Where do we go? 'Cause we sure as hell can't be born again."
"I know we can't be born again, but we have to change sometime."
"I don't want to change! I like who I am!"
"I like who you are too, but look at that (1987 Fiesta Bowl). You don't want to believe this, but that ain't us no more. We can't do that the way we did before. We're changing. We're turning into...like...regular defense."
"Maybe you think you're changing, but you can't change what you really are. Forget all this sanction and stuff around you. It don't change a thing. You and me don't even have a choice. We're born with a run-stuffing instinct you can't turn off and on like a radio. We have to be in the middle of the action because we're warriors. Without some challenge, without some run to stuff, then the warrior may as well be dead, Stallion. So I'm asking you, as a friend...stand by my side this one last time."
Penn State 27 - 24
Galen: Let's face it, the sanctions have hit Penn State and they’ve done it in the form of depth on the defensive side of the ball. LJ Sr. is used to rotating whole line packages especially in the middle of his line where their job is to eat up blockers and generate general mayhem. Those guys need breaks to be effective in the second half and more to the point in the fourth quarter. Ron Vanderlinden is used to second team linebackers that would start for half the other teams in the Big Ten. Those days are gone for the near future and Penn State’s D is suffering. When one of your staring defensive backs was on the other side of the ball last season, that tells you all you need to know about your depth.
Having said all that, I think Penn State’s defense does enough to win, they won’t be great but I don’t think they have to. Goldy is a run-first offense and I think Penn State’s D is more equipped to stop the run, I just hope the pass doesn’t kill them.
Penn State 24 - 17
Jersey Nick: Minnesota is a good football team. Even if Penn State does pull this one out, it won't be easy. The one thing the Lions do have on their side is that the Gophers' strength is running the football. One of our defense's few strengths is defending the run (sometimes), so this seems to be a good matchup. However, Philip Nelson has been coming into his own lately, and the Gophers have been streaking. The Lions are coming off an emotional(?) win over Illinois in OT. They shouldn't be tired from their efforts, as the bonus football didn't last all that long, but still. This team also hasn't proven to me yet that we can win on the road. Until they do so, I can't pick them against an underrated squad away from Beaver Stadium. BRING ON THE HATE COMMENTERS.
Minnesota 31 - 28
Bill: I give Minnesota credit. I thought they were gonna suck at the beginning of this year, but through an awesome running game and a steady defense, they have become arguably the biggest surprise in America. Add in everything that they've done without Jerry Kill, and I'm shocked that we haven't had six minute ESPN features about the HEART and GRIT and RESILIENCY of the Golden Gophers
*prepare for a "having said that"*
Having said that, I think Penn State walks away with a win, mostly because I'm a gigantic homer that is incapable of seeing things objectively, but also because I think Minnesota's string of good luck has to run out sometime, right? I think Bill Belton has a nice game against a mediocre Gopher defense, Allen Robinson continues to do Allen Robinson things, and Penn State's front seven has a nice game against a potent Minnesota rushing attack.
Also, I will be watching the game at The Second with Nick. I plan on getting him really drunk and hopefully kicked out of the bar. I'm a horrendous friend and you should all avoid me in real life.
Penn State 31-27
From the preview:
Jared: Minnesota 28 - 27
From the podcast:
Cari: Penn State 24 - 21
Adam: Penn State 24 - 21
Dan: Penn State 24 - 21
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