If Penn State wants a shot at the national title, it’ll have to turn things around on Saturday.
The No. 7 Nittany Lions take on No. 24 Michigan State at noon, and neither team can afford another loss. Some analysts — such as Kirk Herbstreit — believes PSU needs some blowout wins to stand a chance.
Can Penn State impress the College Football Playoff committee? Will the Nittany Lions continue to climb? Or will the Spartans make sure Happy Valley doesn’t live up to its namesake?
Whatever you’re looking for, from a Penn State coverage angle, we’ve got you covered right here:
Previews (Looking at the game from different angles)
Here’s what you should keep an eye on in the Penn State-Michigan State football game: Five things to watch in the game, including — for example — defensive lineman Kevin Givens, who should take on a larger role with the absence of DE Ryan Buchholz.
Scouting the opponent: Talking Michigan State with The Detroit News’ beat writer: You’re likely already familiar with the Nittany Lions. But what about Michigan State? Here’s everything you should expect from the Spartans.
Saquon Barkley, Nittany Lions set to face ‘hard-nosed’ Michigan State defense: In last year’s meeting, the Spartans didn’t do much right in a lop-sided loss — but they did stop Barkley. Of course, Trace McSorley then went wild. Will it be more of the same this year?
Penn State WRs coach Josh Gattis previews future passing attack: What does the receiving corps look like after 2017? Gattis turned an eye to the future earlier in the week.
College Football Playoff rankings are in: Does Penn State have a shot?: With a No. 7 ranking, we break down what kinds of odds the Nittany Lions face going forward and who fans should root for Saturday — in games outside of the Big Ten.
Penn State football ‘not panicking’ days removed from gut-wrenching Ohio State loss: It’s been less than a week, and that loss is still fresh in the minds of fans. The Nittany Lions? They have no other choice; they have to move on. Quickly. “People may not like what I’m going to say,” James Franklin said, “but I’m going to stay positive, and progress is still being made.”
Updating the injury statuses of Penn State LT Ryan Bates, DE Ryan Buchholz: It didn’t look great on Wednesday, although James Franklin kept mum for the most part.
Features (Getting to know the Nittany Lions)
Legendary Lions: An oral history of Penn State’s 1982 national championship season: In 1982, the Nittany Lions lost a game in the regular season — but then got together, turned it around and won the school’s first-ever consensus national championship. This is their story, and how they did it.
Former Penn State LB Brandon Bell discusses NFL practice squad life, A.J. Green and the next Jason Cabinda: As part of this past week’s edition of “Five Questions,” Bell talked about all things PSU and NFL. The best athletes he’s seen so far? A.J. Green and LeSean McCoy.
No. 7 Nittany Lions ‘don’t care’ about College Football Playoff rankings: Cornerback Christian Campbell summed it up thusly: “The college football rankings are really predictions. It doesn’t faze us as a team. Anything can happen. So really, it doesn’t matter.”
Miscellaneous (Other PSU stuff you might be interested in)
QB Trace McSorley named Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist: There are only 10 finalists in the country, and McSorley is one of them. “It means a lot,” he said. “A lot of credit goes to our teammates and coaches.”
Matt McGloin reuniting with Bill O’Brien in Houston, per report: With starting QB Deshaun Watson’s torn ACL, O’Brien needed to find a quarterback somewhere to back up Tom Savage — and he found one in McGloin.
Predictions (For Penn State-Michigan State and elsewhere in the Big Ten)
No. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State, noon FOX
Josh Moyer: Penn State 28-17
John McGonigal: Penn State 35-10
Gordon Brunskill: Michigan State 29-28
Ryne Gery: Penn State 35-21
Nate Cobler: Penn State 33-17
No. 9 Wisconsin at Indiana, noon ABC
Josh Moyer: Wisconsin 27-20
John McGonigal: Wisconsin 24-17
Gordon Brunskill: Wisconsin 34-23
Ryne Gery: Wisconsin 30-17
Nate Cobler: Wisconsin 35-10
Illinois at Purdue, noon BTN
Josh Moyer: Purdue 31-17
John McGonigal: Purdue 38-10
Gordon Brunskill: Purdue 27-13
Ryne Gery: Purdue 27-10
Nate Cobler: Purdue 20-10
No. 6 Ohio State at Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Josh Moyer: Ohio State 34-20
John McGonigal: Ohio State 24-17
Gordon Brunskill: Ohio State 31-30
Ryne Gery: Ohio State 35-14
Nate Cobler: Ohio State 41-13
Maryland at Rutgers, 3:30 p.m. BTN
Josh Moyer: Maryland 31-14
John McGonigal: Rutgers 17-13
Gordon Brunskill: Maryland 23-12
Ryne Gery: Maryland 24-7
Nate Cobler: Maryland 55-48
Northwestern at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. BTN
Josh Moyer: Northwestern 28-24
John McGonigal: Nebraska 34-31
Gordon Brunskill: Nebraska 20-17
Ryne Gery: Northwestern 31-20
Nate Cobler: Nebraska 20-13
Minnesota at Michigan, 7:30 p.m. FOX
Josh Moyer: Michigan 34-0
John McGonigal: Michigan 28-3
Gordon Brunskill: Michigan 29-6
Ryne Gery: Michigan 24-10
Nate Cobler: Michigan 38-23
Overall records: Josh Moyer 52-15, John McGonigal 52-15, Gordon Brunskill 50-17, Ryne Gery 52-15, Nate Cobler 52-15