When Michigan State takes on Penn State on Saturday, the Spartans will bring the momentum from allowing defending national champion Ohio State only 132 yards and five first downs.

Those numbers don't bode well for a Penn State team still seeking its offensive identity after 11 games, most recently a 28-16 loss to Michigan.

Even Penn State's ever-positive coach James Franklin knows what his offense will face against the Spartans.

"They're big and physical and long on the defensive line. They are really, really long - 6-5, 6-6, 6-4" - big, physical guys, juniors and seniors, playmakers, guys that have been making plays there for multiple years," Franklin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "At linebacker they're very, very productive, and in the secondary they are athletic and long as well."

"We lost [fifth-year senior linebacker] Ed Davis initially and that was a blow to our defensive football team," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday at his press conference. "I think our players have overcome that, so they've established themselves as leaders."

Franklin described the Spartans' defensive philosophy as "they're going to get to you before you can get the ball out," which could prove dangerous for Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

Last Saturday, Hackenberg was sacked for the 36th time this season, bringing his career total to 101, a number that doesn't include the many hits he's taken after the ball has left his hands.

But Hackenberg may not see the field as much as usual this week. The Spartans (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) rank ninth in time of possession and 11th in third down conversion in the Football Bowl Subdivision, while Penn State (7-4, 4-3) is ranked 126th of 127 FBS teams on third down.

The Lions have a lot to prove and little to lose while Michigan State has a division title on the line.

Wide receiver Geno Lewis said: "I think it's going to be a great challenge and a great opportunity for us to come out and make plays."