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Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. No. 6 Michigan

Penn State football (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) will host No. 6 Michigan (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) at noon on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions snapped their three-game losing streak last week with a 31-14 over Maryland in College Park. The Wolverines bounced back from their loss to Michigan State with a 29-7 win over Indiana in Ann Arbor.

Michigan may be ranked No. 6, but most of our staff thinks James Franklin’s unranked squad will take down the Wolverines and head into Senior Day with a two-game winning streak.

Samuel Brungo (6-3): Penn State 20, Michigan 16

Penn State wins a close, classic Big Ten game and breaks into the CFP Top 25 Poll, where it should have been for two weeks. The defense will expose the Wolverines’ offense and shut them down. Sean Clifford and Jahan Dotson once again connect for a touchdown, and Penn State will also get a defensive turnover leading to a short field and a rushing touchdown from a healthy, scrambling Clifford. State by four.

Alex Petersen (3-2): Michigan 30, Penn State 27

The Nittany Lions handily won their game against Maryland, or so the score made it seem. Halftime adjustments and fortunate turnovers on their own half of the field will not be a recipe for success against a team like Michigan.

Had this been a night game, I’d probably have the scores reversed, with Penn State pulling out a close one. But considering how the last afternoon game went in Happy Valley, I don’t see Penn State coming away with a win.

Charles Reinert (8-1): Penn State 30, Michigan 17

Penn State is winning this game. I have no doubt in my mind. Michigan has not played any real teams and is waaaaay overrated in the CFP polls. While Penn State’s offense has been struggling recently, I expect the defense to come up with some huge turnovers that ultimately become the difference-maker. Also, Michigan still sucks.

Nolan Wick (6-2): Penn State 21, Michigan 17

It is ranked No. 6, but Michigan still sucks.

Penn State will limit Michigan’s run game, which is its biggest offensive component, as the Nittany Lions have beefed up their run defense lately. Penn State’s secondary will also be disruptive when the Wolverines try to pass, as that unit is elite, as we all know. While the Wolverines will be focused on covering Jahan Dotson, Sean Clifford will have other options in Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith to throw to, both of whom are solid options. 

The inaugural “Helmet Stripe” crowd will give the Nittany Lions a boost in what will be a close game. Sure, Michigan has talent in running back Hassan Haskins and linebacker Josh Ross, but it is 0-1 against ranked teams after barely losing to Michigan State. Make that 0-2 come Saturday.

Adam Babetski (5-0): Penn State 28, Michigan 24

The last time Penn State fans stormed the field was five years ago when the Nittany Lions were unranked and beat a top-10 team. No further comments.

Mikey DeAngelis (6-1): Penn State 21, Michigan 20

Penn State is notorious for consecutive losses. The team always seems to lose multiple games in a row, but after a win last week at Maryland, the Nittany Lions are back in the win column. With momentum back on its side, and in front of a (98%) White Out crowd, I think Penn State will pull off a close win against the Michigan Wolverines. It’ll finally inch the Nittany Lions into the CFP rankings and set them on a path to a shot at a major bowl game.

Gabe Angieri (6-3): Penn State 24, Michigan 20

Last week, I said Jahan Dotson would post more than 200 receiving yards and score three touchdowns. I also said Sean Clifford would have 350-plus yards passing. Some would say I’m on a hot streak here.

Well, guess what? Dotson’s going to do it again. That’s right. The wideout will total more than 200 yards through the air and account for all of Penn State’s touchdowns with another dominant performance. Clifford, just like last week, will make his throws and smartly rely on Dotson to make plays.

Brent Pry’s defense will give up two touchdowns and struggle a bit to stop the ground game, but Penn State’s secondary will feast on Cade McNamara and intercept two passes.

The Nittany Lions will head into Senior Day with a two-game winning streak and they’ll finally be ranked by the College Football Playoff committee.

Will Pegler (7-2): Michigan 27, Penn State 20

Without Jahan Dotson’s record-breaking performance and a timely pick-six for Ji’Ayir Brown, the outcome in College Park this past weekend could’ve been a lot different. Considering the way Penn State’s offense (outside of Dotson) played against the Terps last Saturday, I’m not convinced they’ll be able to keep up with a talented Michigan squad.

Michigan’s defense is really, really talented, and the Nittany Lions’ struggling rushing attack isn’t going to do them any favors against that group. I do see Dotson staying on this hot streak of his, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to do enough to dominate the Wolverines like he did the Terps.

Expect Michigan to score late to take that touchdown lead, and the Nittany Lions are unable to score a game-tying touchdown in a final two-minute drive. No upset at Beaver Stadium this Saturday, folks.

Ryan Parsons (7-2): Michigan 24, Penn State 20

If Sean Clifford didn’t go down against Iowa, I would pick an easy win for Penn State. But ( I’m going to be honest), I think the Nittany Lions have run out of steam here.

I liked what I saw from the running backs against Maryland, and the defense continues to play very well. However, I just don’t know if Penn State has the “it” factor to beat Michigan at this point in the season. My heart is certainly with the Nittany Lions, and I could see them winning, but I would bet on the Wolverines here.

Matt DiSanto (6-3): Penn State 25, Michigan 22

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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