Penn State vs. Michigan State Prediction Roundtable


Penn State was shocked in a defeat at Illinois last week. After winning two-straight games, the Nittany Lions were favorites and expected to win over an Illini team that struggled on defense all season. However, Penn State did not play up to its potential and now has five losses on the season. This week’s game brings the tough Michigan State Spartans into Beaver Stadium.

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The Spartans are one of the best teams in the Big Ten and have an explosive offense and a tough defense. Penn State’s stellar defense will be tested, as will an offense that’s struggled over the last month on so to get into any sort of rhythm and put points on the board.

Although the Nittany Lions are big underdogs in this one, anything can happen on the field, especially on Senior Day.  Check out our VBR staff predictions for this Big Ten matchup.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr.
Okay, so I’ve been overly optimistic this season, and it hasn’t exactly worked out. I was expecting a big performance by the Penn State offense last week at Illinois, and what we got was the complete opposite. Against one of the worst defenses in the nation, the Nittany Lions struggled as bad as they have all year on offense.

This week, the Michigan State Spartans invade Beaver Stadium on Senior Day. The crowd in Happy Valley is sure to be loud and emotional at the start of the game when 17 seniors who chose to stick with the program during adversity will be honored. However, that’s not going to be enough for the Nittany Lions in this one.

Penn State can’t do anything on offense right now, and quarterback Christian Hackenberg looks like a shell of the player who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year a year ago. Michigan State is tough on defense and will make things very difficult on the Nittany Lions.

The Penn State defense should keep this one close for a while, but I expect this one to be out of hand by the third quarter. I expect the Spartans to ruin Senior Day with a 24-7 victory.

Staff Writer Ryan Lance
Well the Nittany Lions return home for the final time this season to take on a strong Michigan State team. Penn State is coming off yet another disappointing performance as they dropped a close game to Illinois a week ago while the Spartans are coming off a 45-3 victory over Rutgers. The No. 10 ranked Spartans may be the best team the Nittany Lions have to face all season as they have a top 8 offense and defense.

The Nittany Lions defense will have its hands full on Saturday as they will face a talented quarterback in Connor Cook, one of the conferences top running backs in Jeremy Langford, and standout wide receiver Tony Lippett. This may be the toughest challenge the defense has faced all season long and they will have to play at an extremely high level and force a few turnovers to keep us in the game.

I think we’ll see much of the same from the offense as they will struggle to move the ball. They’ve had some success running the ball the last few weeks but that was versus much weaker front 7’s than what they will see from Michigan State. It’s imperative to get Hackenberg in a groove early but that hasn’t happened since the beginning of the season and I don’t expect that to change this weekend.

The biggest celebration of the weekend will most likely come in the pregame ceremonies as the Beaver Stadium crowd gets to send off a senior class that is beloved by many. This class stuck with Penn State in its darkest days and they deserve a thank you and one last standing ovation. Thank you seniors for sticking with the program and for being great ambassadors for the program! However, I have to take the Spartans in this one, 31-6.

Staff Writer Jeff Jezewski
Connor Cook and the gang could make this one ugly quickly in Happy Valley. After I started to believe a little bit in the offense, that was thrown back in my face against Illinois last weekend. This offense is very dysfunctional and a battle with the Michigan State defense certainly won’t help the cause. Cook to Lippett will probably happen very often on Saturday. Though Penn State’s defense is really, really good, they could be on the field a whole lot.

I don’t see the offense having too much success and I would be surprised if they scored more than 10 points offensively. Maybe this is a game that they realize will be tough to win playing their style of football and they’ll let Christian Hackenberg sling the ball around, but we’ll see.

Not much offense from Penn State and a decent amount of offense from the Spartans. The D keeps this one close, for a while. MSU 38-9.

Staff Writer Eric Sion
Penn State finds itself in a very similar position. Last year, the Nittany Lions entered the last regular season game coming off of a close, tough loss to Nebraska. Now, Penn State is coming off of another close, tough loss, this time to Illinois. Bill O’Brien’s team was a huge underdog against Wisconsin in last season’s regular season finale.

And now this Penn State team will be a big home underdog against Michigan State- and rightfully so. The Spartans are one of the best teams in the country and even though they won’t be playing in the Big Ten championship game, they’ll still end up in a very good bowl game. Michigan State’s ferocious defensive line, led by Shilique Calhoun, will wreak havoc in Penn State’s offensive backfield and once again make Penn State fans hold their collective breath when Christian Hackenberg constantly gets hit. Connor Cook has become one of the best passers in the country and he gets to hand the ball off to Jeremy Langford, who is a very good running back and is overlooked because he plays in a conference with so many elite running backs.

I expect this game to get ugly as Michigan State has the advantage in pretty much every phase of the game. Spartans ruin Penn State’s Senior Day by a score of 35-14.