A week after being man-balled to death by Michigan, Penn State has to turn around and face another run-first team in Minnesota. The Gophers don’t have the talent of Michigan, but the Wolverines have laid the blueprint on how to beat the Lions. Run the ball, get past the D-line and the LBs won’t be any help. If PSU ever does decide to stack the box, quick throws for the win. Tanner Morgan may not be available for Minnesota, which effectively neuters the passing game for the Gophers.
I’ll cautiously predict a win for the Lions, but man am I skeptical as hell about this team at this point in time. Without a passing game, the Lions are able to key on the run game, and can bottle up the Minnesota offense. The run game reestablishes itself, and Penn State gets to bowl eligibility.
Penn State 27, Minnesota 17
I think Penn State comes into this game angry, and given the potential loss of Tanner Morgan, Minnesota becomes more one-dimensional. We won’t see a repeat performance by the run defense, and the freshman running backs get back on track.
Optimistic Lando appears yet again.
Penn State 31, Minnesota 20
Man, does it even feel like the White Out week? No excitement, no buzz, no juice. Guess that’s what happens when you are coming off a thorough beat down and remain committed to a below average quarterback that close to zero people are still interested in watching play. This could lead to a relatively dull White Out crowd which certainly will hurt Penn State.
That said, on the field, this is not a good matchup for Penn State. Last week their rush defense was exposed. While Minnesota is not as good as Michigan, they’ll still look to run the ball 30-40 times behind a big physical offensive line. Mo Ibrahim isn’t Blake Corum, but he’s still one of the best backs in the Big 10.
Penn State’s offense continues to regress each week. Probably not a coincidence that Sean Clifford continues to do the same. Yet, James Franklin won’t even consider moving on from Clifford. Oh, did we mentioned Franklin’s tendency to lose consecutive games? This is season nine for him, in six of the first eight he lost consecutive games at least once.
History tends to repeat itself. James Franklin’s history of back-to-back losses repeats itself on Saturday night.
Minnesota 24, Penn State 17
This mirrors last year’s game against Illinois in so many ways. Penn State coming off a disappointing performance (with an injured quarterback) and home to a west team that is scrambling in its own right. Last year, we know what happened.
This year. I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the Lions - mostly because of the White Out. There’s a decided lack of attention for the White Out for the first time...maybe ever? But, playing at night and playing with some desperation, I think Penn State finds its way.
I look for a game a lot like Penn State played against Indiana back in 2019 - slowish start and never quite comfortable. But good enough to shake off last week’s embarrassment.
Penn State 20, Minnesota 13
I am such a pathetic idiot.
Penn State 24, Minnesota 20
I really should know better than to pick PSU to win in a situation like this but screw it…Give me a painful game that will feature plenty of booing, but PSU somehow ekes out a dub under the White Out lights. Thank goodness they now serve beer at Beaver Stadium, because I’ll likely need it.
Penn State 20, Minnesota 17
(Originally appearing in the Game Preview)
I’ll admit that I’m hesitant to make this pick. Penn State has a history of underachieving in the week following its first loss. There’s also reason to be concerned that Penn State’s offense may not be to able to produce enough against Minnesota’s stingy defense, allowing the Gophers to come out on top in a low-scoring affair (assuming Penn State’s run defense isn’t throttled by one of the nation’s best running backs again).
However, things aren’t bright and sunny for Minnesota either. They come into the game on a two-game losing skid thanks to a lack of production on offense. They may also be without Tanner Morgan, leaving them with an inexperienced quarterback to handle things in a hostile environment while facing a menacing pass rush.
This game is likely to doom one team’s season and keep another afloat. A loss for Minnesota would be their third in a row, and likely eliminate them from the West race that they were widely picked to win ahead of the season. A loss for Penn State would likely mean a three-game skid as well with Ohio State rolling into town next week. That could lead to a depleted team trying to close out the season after reaching a 5-0 start and the top 10.
I respected the grit of this team during the 5-0 start, and don’t expect that to go away because of a loss to a team that was just flat-out better than them. I think we see a bounce back game from the defensive line and getting back to creating momentum-shifting plays for the entire defense. The offense won’t set the world ablaze, but will put together enough quality drives to get the job done.
Penn State 24, Minnesota 21