Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Kyle Carter (87) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during overtime against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Penn State at Minnesota Prediction Roundtable

Penn State heads onto the road for its third Big Ten road game. The first two tries did not go well. The Nittany Lions were dominated at both Indiana and Ohio State. This week, it’s a trip to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. This game will present a challenge, as the Gophers have shown an ability to put up a lot of yards and points. They are also riding a three-game winning streak. Here’s what the VBR staff sees coming:

Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)

On paper, it feels like the Gopher offense is a good match up for a PSU defense that has been the focus for fan criticism much of the season.  Minnesota does show a spread look, but they are going to line up and run right at you.  What they lack in offensive speed and skill, they make up for in power.  The key for me is if the PSU offense can get off to a good start, because the Gophers are going to control the clock, and keep the PSU D on the field.  The Lions must get early points, because a shallow defense will be gassed come the end of the game.  I think they do, and hold on for a tough 24-20 win.

Co-Editor Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)

The play of the Penn State defense is going to be important in this one, as that’s been one of the biggest struggles on the road so far this season.

The Nittany Lions have a history of starting slow in games that have an 11 am (Central Time) start time like this one does. I am expecting an ugly first half and won’t be surprised if the Nittany Lions are down by a touchdown at half time. However, I expect the whole team to wake up and the offense to take over in the second half. Look for a big dose of Bill Belton and Allen Robinson. Penn State wins a close one, 28-24.

Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)

Penn State has been pretty dreadful on the road this season. The Nittany Lions have been outscored 107-38 in their only two true road games and Minnesota is a hot team. The Golden Gophers are on a three game winning streak and two of those wins were against ranked teams. Minnesota has a solid rushing attack, led by David Cobb, who’s one of the best running backs in the Big Ten. Minnesota’s defense isn’t spectacular, so Penn State’s offense should be able to score some points. Penn State’s defense will be the key in this game. If they can limit Minnesota on third downs and not let up the big plays that they’ve been susceptible to, the Nittany Lions should have a chance in this one. But considering how poorly Penn State played against Illinois and the fact that Minnesota is riding high, it’s hard to see Penn State winning this game.

Penn State 21 Minnesota 28

Staff Writer Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23)

I’ve struggled with this game all week. Penn state has the superior talent at the skill positions, but they have struggled mightily on the road. Minnesota has dreams of winning the Legend’s Division title, and a win over the visiting Nittany Lions will go a long way toward accomplishing that feat.
Both teams need this win to help cement a solid season. I expect Penn State to air it out and find All Big Ten WR Allen Robinson who should have no trouble eclipsing 100 yards receiving against a pass defense rated in the lower third of the conference, while I see Minnesota trying to pound the ball on the ground with varying degrees of success. In the end, I think the Big Ten’s worst passing offense will struggle to gain traction against the Nittany Lions porous secondary. Christian Hackenberg will perform well enough to lead the Lions to a well-deserved road win.

Penn State 27  Minnesota 24.


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Tags: Football Minnesota Golden Gophers Penn State Nittany Lions

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