Penn State vs. Minnesota Prediction, Game Preview

    Penn State vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview. The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers meet Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley.

    September 27, 2016

    Penn State vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview. The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers meet Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley.


    Penn State vs. Minnesota Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – 3:30 p.m. ET
    Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Penn.
    TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network

    There’s no doubt Penn State coach James Franklin is feeling the pressure after a 2-2 start. He didn’t do himself any favors by kicking a 21-yard field goal trailing 28-0 in Saturday’s 49-10 blowout loss at No. 4 Michigan. Franklin and the Nittany Lions need to avoid losing at home to Minnesota and dropping below .500 for the season.

    Meanwhile, the Golden Gophers believe they’re making strides under coach Tracy Claeys. They’re heading into their first road game of the season after improving to 3-0 with last week’s 31-24 win over Colorado State. This will be Minnesota’s toughest test to date, but if it passes, the schedule lines up nicely for it considering it won’t play Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State this year.

    What to Know About Penn State

    Penn State didn’t even look close to being on the same level as Michigan, which isn’t something that’s going to be accepted for much longer after Franklin went 7-6 in each of his first two seasons on the job. The Nittany Lions finished with only 191 total yards and turned the ball over twice to give them 10 on the season. Trace McSorely threw his third interception and was sacked six times.

    The biggest concern might be the running game. Despite having Saquon Barkley, Penn State ranks 122nd in the FBS in rushing yards per game.

    What to Know About Minnesota

    The Golden Gophers aren’t having any trouble getting their yardage on the ground. They rushed for 292 yards against Indiana State before going for 243 last week against Colorado State. Minnesota has scored 11 rushing touchdowns with Rodney Smith leading the way with five.

    Mitch Leidner is a dual-threat quarterback, throwing for four touchdowns and running for three. He went 16 of 20 on throws and added 50 yards and a score on the ground last week.

    Advantages

    Offense: Penn State – McSorely and Barkley have plenty of talent, they just need to get help from those around them.

    Defense: Minnesota – Penn State has allowed at least 326 yards rushing twice this season.

    Special Teams: Penn State – Nittany Lions kicker Joey Julius is fun to watch on kickoff coverage.

    Coaching: Even – Claeys has Minnesota on the right track.

    Intangibles: Penn State – Minnesota is 4-7 in its last 11 on the road.

    Matchup To Watch

    Barkley vs. Minnesota’s defense

    Penn State really needs to get Barkley going if it is going to be successful moving forward. He had only 15 carries last week against Michigan and hasn’t gone over 100 yards since the season opener.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Penn State -3
    Over/Under: 54.5

    Penn State vs. Minnesota Prediction

    Minnesota continues its success running the ball and Leidner adds two on the ground while the Golden Gophers shut down Barkley and pick up a solid road win.

    Penn State vs. Minnesota final score prediction: Minnesota 24, Penn State 20

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 5

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