Game Preview: Penn State vs. Minnesota
Host Logan Bourandas and Analysts Matt White, Andrew Destin, and Caleb Schweiger look ahead to Penn States big match up against Minnesota. They dive into key aspects of the game as well as give predictions on the matchup:
Penn State fans, for the most part, have seemed to have no real reason to worry about their Nittany Lions this season. Besides the end of both the Pitt and Whiteout game against Michigan, the Nittany Lions have done a great job of putting away their competition en route to an 8-0 record and the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. This week the only problem is that their opponent has had a strong resume-building season as well.
The Golden Gophers ,despite a rough first four games where they managed to win by one possession in each, also come into this week on a dominant run leading to a similar record as Penn State. Minnesota is coming off a 52-10 win against Maryland a team in which Penn State also destroyed earlier in the season. Minnesota is also coming off dominant wins against Illinois, Nebraska and Rutgers.
Minnesota will be Penn State's highest ranked opponent so far this season coming in at 13 in the polls. Their 8-0 start is the first time they’ve hit that mark since 1941 making the hype around the Minnesota campus very real. Head coach P.J Fleck was recently awarded for Minnesota’s strong season with a contract extension keeping him in Minnesota through the 2026 season.
The offense is led by a strong rushing attack taking a different approach from Penn State as Rodney Smith leads the team with almost 900 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Guys like Mohamed Ibrahim (307 rushing yards and six touchdowns) and Shannon Brooks (286 yards and one touchdown) also see a lot of time in the backfield which will be a big test for a very strong Penn State front seven.
For Penn State this game looks to be the toughest in what has been a rough stretch of games for them over the past month. Penn State played two ranked opponents in Iowa and Michigan beating both with the Iowa game having pretty bad weather throughout the contest. Much like in that Iowa game, Minneapolis will have cold weather and snow leading to a likely rush-oriented attack for the Nittany Lions.
In the Iowa game, Noah Cain was a major factor on the offensive side putting up over 100 yards and a touchdown on the day while Sean Clifford and the passing attack was held silent. Only problem is Noah Cain has been somewhat absent in the two following games only coming in for the fourth quarter in the Michigan game and only saw six carries in East Lansing.
In what will probably be a run heavy game, the Nittany Lions experience will come in handy. Having already played two ranked opponents with one being in similar conditions to what will be expected on Saturday will be vital for Penn State. Penn State is by far Minnesota’s toughest
opponent yet and looking at their remaining schedule, probably toughest opponent of the season. Minnesota has had a storybook season thus far but they aren’t quite ready to take on a giant in the Big Ten.
Prediction: Penn State 30, Minnesota 13
Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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