Penn State – Michigan State Predictions: Can the Lions finish with a win?

Penn State is on course for a 10-win season, pretty much exceeding everyone’s expectations heading into the season. After his 100th career victory, the head coach james franklin said last week that he feels good his team is heading into Saturday’s senior matchday showdown with state of michigan.

“I think we have good energy,” Franklin said. “I think we have a good mojo about us right now. It’s late in the season. It’s a long season and there are times when the end of the season can be a challenge and a chore for everyone, and it’s just not like that. Even with bumps and bruises like we’ve had, and we have a lot, the energy is really good.

However, since taking over the program in 2014, the Spartans have gotten the better of the Lions, winning five of the last eight encounters. Last year, Michigan State won 30-27 at home in the snow.

How will Saturday’s game go? Our staff gives their predictions below.

Nate Bauer (Season: 11-0; Last game: 34-17 PSU)

A week ago, Michigan State was stealthily returning to relevance. Its loss to Michigan was bad and uncompetitive, but a double-overtime win over Wisconsin, a win at Illinois and a win over Rutgers sandwiched it for an under-the-radar vibe of a team bouncing back after his four consecutive defeats. earlier in the year. A 39-31 double-overtime loss to Indiana at home, however, upended that narrative.

Now, a Spartans team that has generally been tough for Penn State (3-3 in the last six of this series) comes to Beaver Stadium vying for Bowl eligibility. And while that may be a motivating factor, the intangibles are far less important than the reality of Michigan State’s shortcomings versus Penn State’s strengths. The Spartans are no good and haven’t been all season, ranking among the worst offenses and defenses in college football, with a bright spot anomaly.

Penn State’s offense still has an avalanche of problems to overcome, but over four quarters, the Nittany Lions seemingly have all the advantages.

Penn State: 42
Michigan State: 13

Thomas Frank Carr (Season: 11-0; Last Game: 45-10 PSU)

Last season, things went in a very different direction for this game before a blizzard grounded Penn State’s passing offense. Rightly or wrongly, head coach James Franklin and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich ruled Jahan Dotson’s deep shots. Whether it was the right move or not, it limited Penn State’s ability to attack one of college football’s weakest secondaries.

Fast forward a year, and Penn State loses Parker Washington, the total threat, two games before the rematch. Even so, Penn State should have the firepower to take shots and make plays against the Spartans. The running game is also light years better than a season ago, and this time Penn State has the explosive running back who can turn a regular play into 40 yards (in fact, they have two ). Offensively, Michigan State doesn’t have the same firepower, but starter Peyton Thorne is capable of quality shots that will extend practices. However, he is also more than capable of giving the ball to the other team with late throws and poor overall anticipation.

I don’t trust to give more points to the offense with the losses they have suffered, even if I really want to.

Penn State: 34
Michigan State: 17

Sean Fitz (Season: 11-0; Last Game: 38-0 Penn State)

This streak has been the best for the Nittany Lions, who have seen the Spartans ruin their season on several occasions. Michigan State is beaten, however, in addition to missing several key contributors through suspension. Penn State should be able to run the ball successfully, especially thanks to rookie Kaytron Allen. The Nittany Lions have yet to find another threat in the air with Parker Washington missing the rest of the season.

Michigan State poses a threat in the air with a pair of fantastic wide receivers in Keon Coleman and Jayden Reed. They will certainly test Nittany Lions corners on Saturday whether Joey Porter plays or not. If Penn State can stop these guys on the outside, they have a real shot at making this a senior day to remember.

Penn State: 34
Michigan State: 17

Matt Herb (Season: 11-0; Last game: 28-13 PSU)

Thinking back to the value of a season of predictions, it’s clear that I’ve consistently overestimated opponents’ ability to score on this Penn State defense. Maybe I’m about to do it again, but I can’t help but think that Michigan State has a chance in this game thanks to their passing offense. Payton Thorne has been a thorn in the Penn State team for the past two seasons, throwing for 325 yards in 2020 and 268 last year while compiling a 5-2 touchdown-interception ratio in those games. In 11 games this year, he completed 63.4% of his attempts and averaged 222.7 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

That said, Penn State is doing exactly what you’d want a team to do when they have young players in a number of key offensive and defensive positions. He has steadily improved over the season and hasn’t lost a game against opponents he should beat. I think that will continue to be the case in his regular season finale.

Penn State: 34
Michigan State: 21

Greg Pickel (Season: 10-1; Last Game: 35-10 PSU)

Michigan State arrives at Penn State after a 39-31 loss to Indiana that featured a 17-point home lead. It happened against a Hoosiers team that the Lions just strangled on the road. The Spartans are dealing with suspension and injury issues that have kept them from touching each other in practice for the past few weeks. This hurt the team’s run defense the most, which should be music to Mike Yurcich’s ears. Mel Tucker’s team has a lot to play for, given they can qualify for the playoffs with an upset victory.

But, the point spread is here. MSU wants to pass, which plays to the strengths of the Lions. And that can’t stop the run, which is Penn State’s best weapon on offense. Put it all together and head coach James Franklin’s team might not win again by 25 or 30 points. But, he would pick up a landslide victory to reach the 10-2 mark to end the regular season.

Penn State: 31
Michigan State: 10

Ryan Snyder (Season: 10-1; Last Game: 38-7 Penn State)

After last week’s collapse against Indiana, it’s hard for me to see Michigan State coming back up for this one. At 5-6, the Spartans are still alive for a game of bowling, but how motivated are they to get that win for a trip to New York to play in the Pinstripe Bowl? I don’t see it happening.

I think the gap, which is currently at 18 points, says a lot too. That’s just one point less than what we saw last week at Rutgers. It wouldn’t shock me to see Penn State start slower and thus keep this game under 52.5, but I don’t see Michigan State going over 21 points.

Penn State: 35
Michigan State: 17

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