Unbeaten and No. 6-ranked Penn State visits a struggling Michigan State team on Saturday.
The Spartans have dominated this Big Ten rivalry in recent years. Here are predictions from The Inquirer’s Penn State reporters:
There is really no way to gauge Michigan State’s mood after the Spartans were drubbed 72-10 in their last two games. But with a week off and a return to their home field, they figure to give Penn State the same kind of 60-minute battle they have shown the past two seasons.
The Lions have to be ready for anything – a defensive twist or two, a fake punt or fake field goal on special teams, scrambles by quarterback Brian Lewerke. They must get pressure on Lewerke and their secondary must be sharper than it was last week against Michigan.
Offensively, the Lions have to strike a run-pass balance and keep the ball away from Michigan State. This could come down to which team makes more field goals.
We’ll take Penn State 23, Michigan State 17
Penn State could win this game by 30 points or three points, and I don’t think I’d be surprised by either outcome. Michigan State has caused some real problems for the Nittany Lions over the last two years and there’s something about this matchup that brings out the best in Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke.
But, with all that being said, I just don't think Michigan State has enough talent –– on either side of the ball –– to stick with Penn State. There's rain in the forecast for Saturday's game –– I don't think anyone needs a reminder of what happened the last time these two teams played in East Lansing –– but I think the Nittany Lions will survive another road game in the Big Ten and head into their second bye week sitting at 8-0.