Penn State vs. Minnesota fearless prediction and game preview.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 9
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Penn State (8-0) vs. Minnesota (8-0) Game Preview
Why Penn State Will Win
Run defense, run defense, run defense.
Penn State has the speed, the pass rush, and the playmaking ability behind the line stop running games cold. It hasn’t faced of ton of good ones, and Michigan started to rumble in the second half a few weeks ago, but overall, the CFP No. 4 team has been dominant.
It’s allowing fewer than two yards per carry and gave up a total of just two rushing scores to everyone besides the Wolverines. Minnesota’s ground game might be humming – rolling for 300 yards or more in three of the last four games – but it hasn’t seen anything like this D.
This Gopher team hasn’t seen anything remotely close to Penn State.
Illinois, Nebraska and Purdue. Those are the best teams on the Gopher slate so far, and none of them overall team speed the Nittany Lions are about to bring.
They’ve shown resiliency on the road – putting the game away at Iowa – and they’ve shown toughness when challenged. There might be a few issues on offense, but the D makes up for them with 30 sacks and 67 tackles for loss on the year.
They’re going to attack the Minnesota backfield from all sides, but …
Why Minnesota Will Win
The Penn State offense is just okay.
It moves the chains, and it’s been able to show the pop at key times with the passing game, but the ground attack doesn’t generate enough of a push to worry.
The team did a great job of methodically getting by Michigan State, but even though it was in total control, it was only a 28-7 win. Okay, the brutal weather had a little bit to do with that, but it needed everything in the bag to get by an okay Iowa squad, and it pushed needed some questionable coaching decisions from the other side to survive Pitt.
This isn’t Ohio State. It’s not steamrolling through everything in its path.
Minnesota’s offensive front has to get physical and blast away from the start. The O has to utilize its deep and versatile backfield to go right at the Penn State front seven that’s amazing on the move, but hasn’t been challenged yet by anyone who wanted to grind.
And grind Minnesota will.
It’s going to own the clock. Penn State’s defense has been holding up just fine, but it’s on the field way too often considering the offense is so good on third downs.
Minnesota doesn’t play stall ball, but it’s not going to be in any hurry if it finds something that works. Wisconsin is the only team in the Big Ten that’s better in the time of possession department. And then there’s the disrespect card the Gophers are about to play, because …
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What’s Going To Happen
Minnesota is a Power Five program that’s 8-0 and ranked 17th by the College Football Playoff committee behind six teams with two losses, a 12th-ranked Baylor team that hasn’t had a murderer’s row of a schedule, and a Penn State squad that comes in at No. 4.
Not like the Gophers needed more motivation, but there it is.
The bad ranking, the contract extension that gives PJ Fleck gobs of money until 2026 – thank you, Florida State – and the history are all on Minnesota’s side.
The 2016 Gophers had Penn State dead, but gagged it away late in a 29-26 loss. That kicked off a Nittany Lion dash to the Big Ten title.
Minnesota won in 2013, had a nice run of victories in the series for a while, and shocked Joe Paterno’s 9-0 team in 1999 thriller.
It’s the biggest November game for program since it handed Iowa its only loss in 1960 – and led to an appearance in the Rose Bowl. Minnesota finished 8-0 in 1934, 1935, 1940, and 1941, and it hasn’t been 9-0 since the 13-0 season – helped by a 107-0 win over Twin Cities High School – back in 1904.
And for a while, it’s going to seem like the Gophers just might do it.
Penn State will struggle early on. This isn’t a team that puts a ton of points on the board, and it’s going to have to deal with two great early Gopher drives that produce points.
But the Nittany Lion pass rush will take over as the game goes on, Minnesota won’t be able to get its downfield passing game going, and in a low-scoring fight, two late PSU scoring drives will break Gopher hearts.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Prediction, Line
Must See Rating: 5
5: Knives Out
1: Doctor Sleep