Michigan State: Make Your Predictions Here!
No. 10/11 Michigan State Spartans: 10-1
Series Record: Penn State leads 14-12-1
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio (7th year, 4th with MSU)
Players to Watch: LB Greg Jones, RB Edwin Baker, QB Kirk Cousins
It has been an up and down football season, to say the least. Maybe it is what some expected, while it has been unpredictable for many others. But already with four losses, Penn State can salvage this season with a win over Michigan State Saturday, whom many believe are among the top 10 teams in the nation.
Playing for a shot at the Rose Bowl, the Spartans come into Beaver Stadium without having won at Penn State since the hippies roamed campus in 1965. But with hard-fought victories over Notre Dame, Northwestern, Purdue, and a 34-24 romping of Wisconsin (perhaps the best team in the Big Ten), the Spartans appear to be the “real deal” in 2010.
Lead by their 1,000-yard rusher Edwin Baker, the Spartans’ high-powered offense lives off of their running attack. Allowing an average of 164 rushing yards per game, the battered Nittany Lion defense will have its hands full with the running game. The defense hopes that linebacker Michael Mauti, who is listed as probable with a healing shoulder, will return to help stifle their game plan.
However, quarterback Kirk Cousins balances the attack with a supreme passing game, putting the Michigan State offense fourth in the Big Ten in points scored.
Cousins has two 6-foot-2 wide receivers that commonly cause mismatches for undersized defensive backs. Mark Dell and B.J. Cunningham have combined for 13 touchdowns and 1,339 receiving yards this season. With the second best pass defense in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions could have their biggest challenge of the year with these two reception machines.
Opposite from their potent offensive attack sits a stout Spartan defense that allows less than 20 points per game, the third best in the conference. The leading tackler is also the 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and regarded by many as the best linebacker in the Big Ten, a guy by the name of Greg Jones. Jones and the rest of the Spartan defense will have their sights set on keeping Matt McGloin and his offense below their allowed average of 20 points.
Will they have that success? Or will the Senior Day atmosphere give the Nittany Lions just enough confidence to spite the Spartans and ruin any Pasadena dreams?
Make your predictions here!