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Staff Predictions: No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 24 Michigan State

Last weekend was a tough pill to swallow, but the Nittany Lions are poised to rebound on Saturday against No. 24 Michigan State and claim the famous and ever-elegant Land-Grant Trophy.

Even after last week’s demoralizing late-game loss, our staff is confident in a resounding Penn State rebound weekend that hopefully ends with a Nittany Lions victory in East Lansing.

Anthony Colucci (7-1) Penn State 31, Michigan State 7

The Nittany Lions need one more statement win against a ranked team to woo the Playoff committee. That being said, Saturday is Penn State’s last chance at a big win before it rounds out its schedule against the lowlifes of the Big Ten.

After being embarrassed last week against Ohio State by letting a multi-possession game slip away in the final minutes, Penn State (and Saquon Barkley who went MIA after the first quarter) will come out with an edge that we have yet to seen from the team since this is the first true adversity it’s facing since last September. Plus, Trace McSorley and Jason Cabinda called a players-only meeting and something tells me we are going to see a much better-focused group on the verge of going on a tear.

Elissa Hill (7-1): Penn State 28, Michigan State 14

I’ll be the first to admit — last week hurt a little for Penn State fans everywhere. Call me a homer all you want, but I still believe in this Nittany Lions team and its ability to go far — including the College Football Playoffs. Penn State needs to make a statement this weekend in East Lansing, and I think it’s poised to do just that, especially in weather that should resemble our favorite State College climate (read: kinda cold, kinda wet, maybe a little bit miserable, but we could hardly care). Who wouldn’t be motivated by the stunning Land Grant trophy?

Oh, and I blame Mikey for last week’s loss.

Mikey Mandarino (7-1) Penn State 38, Michigan State 31

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but after last week’s heartbreaking loss to Ohio State, I am no longer the only person with a “1” in the loss column of these predictions.

As for this weekend’s game against No. 24 Michigan State, I think the Nittany Lions should win this game fairly handily. The Spartans are coming off of an overtime loss to Northwestern at Ryan Field, an opponent Penn State beat easily earlier this season. Their other loss came to a very strong Notre Dame team in the early stages of the season. In my opinion, the only reason Michigan State is ranked is because they beat Michigan at the Big House, but that win happened mostly because Jim Harbaugh is a joke of a football coach (Exhibit A: throwing the ball 35 times in the pouring rain).

Both teams will come into this game with something to prove after last week’s results, but Penn State’s quality on both sides of the ball will end up being too much for the Spartans to handle. Expect Saquon Barkley to bounce back in a big way after a disappointing performance by his standards. Michigan State will cause the Nittany Lions some problems throughout the game,  but the most difficult part of Penn State’s schedule will come to a close with a victory.

David Abruzzese (5-1) Penn State 35, Michigan State 14

Don’t try and tell me Penn State won’t come out of the gate flying this weekend. After suffering a heartbreaker on the road, the NIttany Lions will do what’s necessary in East Lansing. Expect a fired-up defense and an offense bent on reminding the nation why it’s so explosive.

Penn State could’ve taken down Michigan State any day, but it should be a good day for the Nittany Lions given the circumstances.

Nathaniel Pinskey (5-1) Penn State 49, Michigan State 13

After last week’s heartbreak game, I think Penn State gets back on track with a blowout of the Spartans. The Nittany Lions need a lot of help to get into the College Football Playoff, but the only thing that they can control is blowing out their next four opponents.

The offensive line and defensive backfield were major weaknesses against an impressive Ohio State team last week, but look for improvement by both units against Michigan State. Saquon Barkley may not record many rushing yards, but James Franklin and Joe Moorhead will call a bunch of plays to get him into open space and keep the offense moving.

Matt Fox (5-1) Penn State 27, Michigan State 13

Penn State will be on the lookout for a rebound in East Lansing following its gut-wrenching loss at the hands of Ohio State last weekend.

It won’t be easy, as the Spartans’ physical style of play will cause issues at times for the Penn State offense. But the Nittany Lions are the superior team across the board and the scoreboard should reflect that. Look for Saquon Barkley to remind everybody why he’s the best player in the country and lead the Nittany Lions to a bounce back win in East Lansing.

Mitch Stewart (3-1) Penn State 38, Michigan State 17

I think the the Nittany Lions will come out in a bit of a haze on Saturday as they try to catch their collective breath following last weekend’s heartbreaker in the ‘Shoe. However, I expect Penn State to break this game open similar to last year’s Land Grant Trophy clash.

After four touchdowns in the first two weeks of the year, Mike Gesicki hasn’t gotten into the end zone since. Keep your eye on No. 88 to make his presence known in the red zone, especially if the Spartans are able to shut down Saquon Barkley like they did a year ago.

Ethan Kasales (7-1) Penn State 31, Michigan State 21

Penn State’s defense should get back on track in East Lansing, holding a talented Spartan offense to just two touchdowns. I anticipate Michigan State scoring on special teams or defensively, however. While it may not always look pretty, the Nittany Lions will get back on track with a solid road win against a ranked opponent.

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