Staff Predictions: No. 16 Penn State vs. Minnesota

No. 16 Penn State took a lot of punishment in its 41-17 loss to Michigan last week. But hey, it’s White Out weekend, baby.

As the Nittany Lions prepare to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, there are a number of places the team will aim to improve. With Golden Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan’s health unclear, the Nittany Lions’ key may be to stop the run. After allowing 418 rushing yards to Michigan, Penn State will face off against Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim, who averages 6.7 yards per carry.

Most of our staffers expect the Nittany Lions to exorcise their demons and lift fans’ spirits in the 2022 White Out.

Rico Gore (0-0): Penn State 45, Minnesota 3

Everyone is pissed. Fans are mad. The team is mad. James Franklin is mad. I believe this anger is going to push an all-out brutal, statement win. Yeah, they may lose to any team that is ranked in the top 10, but the Nittany Lions have something to prove this week and are going to take it out on Minnesota. It won’t heal the wound of last weekend when they lost to Michigan, but it will help just a tiny bit.

Adam Babetski (5-1): Penn State 28, Minnesota 17

Last week sucked, and I did not enjoy it. This week should be different. In what could be Drew Allar’s first collegiate start, Penn State will jump out to an early lead in front of the loudest crowd of the season. Minnesota is the weakest White Out opponent in years, maybe ever, and it will be hampered if without quarterback Tanner Morgan. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim is the star of the team, but he can’t carry an offense by himself.

Nolan Wick (5-1): Penn State 28, Minnesota 14

With the status of both Sean Clifford and Tanner Morgan up in the air, this year’s White Out could be a battle of the backups. Neither of Minnesota’s backups has seen the field much, though, Drew Allar has a fair amount of experience under his belt should he get the nod in White Out conditions.

Minnesota’s defense is among the best in the country, and so is Mohamed Ibrahim, the team’s primary running back. The Golden Gophers will put up a fight for much of the game, but I don’t see them taking down the Nittany Lions in the White Out, regardless of who the starting quarterbacks are. Penn State is better on paper and also has a defense that is capable of stopping Ibrahim and Minnesota’s other weapons. Although it could be a difficult game, Penn State should find a way to get past Minnesota’s defense in the best show in college football.

Aidan Conrad (2-1): Penn State 24, Minnesota 20

The Nittany Lions are looking for revenge on Saturday night. This game will be the first time Penn State will be wearing its “Generations of Greatness” uniforms along with the alternate end zones during a White Out. I believe the crowd will be extra electric during this game and will lead the team to a bounce-back win over Minnesota. The final score will be close, and Penn State will get back into the top 15 in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Joe Lister (6-0): Penn State 31, Minnesota 14

Is Penn State on upset alert? Absolutely. Will the Nittany Lions win anyways? I presume so. C’mon, folks. It’s the White Out. It’s Minnesota. It’s a team with something to prove. By no means am I bullish about the rest of this season, but I certainly have enough faith in this team to win its biggest game of the year in front of arguably the loudest fans in the world. Penn State — by probably just enough.

Luke Brown (1-1): Penn State 26, Minnesota 17

Not only is it White Out weekend, but it’s a great opportunity for James Franklin’s group to get back on track against Big Ten competition. Look for Minnesota to take advantage of Penn State’s weakness of stopping the run, as Minnesota ranks in the top 20 nationally in rushing offense. The Golden Gophers’ top-six ranking in total defense should also keep the game competitive, but I expect a huge bounce-back game from veteran quarterback Sean Clifford to give Penn State the thrilling victory before Ohio State next weekend.

Mikey DeAngelis (5-1): Penn State 17, Minnesota 14

My heart tells me that Penn State is gonna lose this game, but I’ll almost never bet against Penn State in the White Out. The Nittany Lions need to forget about Michigan and stop the bleeding with a big win going into Ohio State.

Theo Koch (0-0): Penn State 31, Minnesota 20

I think that James Franklin and his team have looked really strong in the first half of the season. A poor performance on the road against a top-five team can be dismissed. Penn State’s offense will come out hot and record a couple of early touchdowns. Minnesota will struggle with the atmosphere and have a hard time gaining any momentum offensively. With the White Out at their back, there is no reason the Nittany Lions can’t show off their true talent and get the season back on track.

Matt Brown (5-1): Penn State 31, Minnesota 17

After last week’s embarrassing blowout loss to Michigan, Penn State needs to get back on the right track and blow out Minnesota. It’s the White Out game and Homecoming weekend, and Beaver Stadium is going to be rocking Saturday night. If this team wants any chance of competing for a national championship, then it needs to take care of business.

Don’t get me wrong. Minnesota is pretty good. It’s one of the best defensive teams in the nation and can run the ball very well with Mohamed Ibrahim. Penn State will have its hands full and after last week’s blunder of a performance, and it needs to bring its all. If Clifford is still banged up, Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen will need to step up, and the defense needs to stop the run game — both of which I think will happen. If all goes well, it should a great night in Happy Valley.

Brady Miller (2-1): Penn State 23, Minnesota 20

Simply put, last week was ugly. Michigan had its way with Penn State, averaging over 7 yards per carry and totaling 418 yards. Minnesota has its own juggernaut in Mohamed Ibrahim, but I have no reason to believe this Nittany Lion defense can’t slow him down. It’s the White Out, and next week is Ohio State. I just don’t see Penn State dropping another game here…not under these conditions.

Devon Craley (4-0): Penn State 20, Minnesota 13

Penn State’s recent history of setbacks following bad losses is definitely creeping into the back of my mind. Minnesota is not a good team whatsoever, and the White Out will be too overwhelming for it. I think Penn State’s rushing attack will rebound in a big way to avoid another disappointing loss. By no means do I think the Nittany Lions will dominate this game in the way they dominated Ohio, but I think they’ll leave with the win. Hopefully, we see a lot of Drew Allar. Sean Clifford might be better for the team right now, but let’s be honest, Allar is way more fun to watch and it’s not particularly close.

CJ Gill (2-1): Penn State 24, Minnesota 20

Penn State needs to rebound after an embarrassing loss to Michigan last week. The defense will have a strong game, fueling off the energy from the White Out environment. Minnesota’s ability to run the ball and maintain the time of possession will keep it close.

Frankie Marzano (5-1): Penn State 31, Minnesota 24

Following its first loss of the season, Penn State has lost its next game in four out of the last five years. If Minnesota was fully healthy, I’d say that the trend would continue this year, but it isn’t. I think hope James Franklin’s squad can put the loss behind itself. We also don’t know the extent of Sean Clifford’s injury, but if he starts and isn’t fully healthy like Illinois last year, this game will be closer than it should be.

Sam Fremin (5-1): Penn State 20, Minnesota 16

I would say Penn State loses this game, but with Tanner Morgan’s health, that feels unlikely. Still, expect sparse scoring. If Clifford plays hurt, the offense will be limited and if Allar plays, he’ll need some time to get into a groove. Minnesota doesn’t feel strong enough to beat a team that is more formidable than last week showed. Ask me next week when Ohio State comes to town, and my answer will be different.

Ryan Parsons (5-1): Minnesota 21, Penn State 20

All I’m going to say here is to look at the Nittany Lions’ record after their first loss under James Franklin.

Gabe Angieri (6-0): Penn State 27, Minnesota 17

I’m being optimistic here. Why? I have no clue.

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