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Staff Predictions: No. 6 Penn State vs. UMass Minutemen

No. 6 Penn State football returns from the bye week for a matchup against the UMass Minutemen on Saturday, October 14, at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions are 5-0, while the Minutemen are 1-6 overall. UMass’ lone win was a 41-30 victory on the road against New Mexico State back in August to open the season.

James Franklin’s team is 3-7 coming off the bye week, but our staffers unanimously predict the team will triumph at Saturday’s Homecoming game.

Rico Gore (5-0): Penn State 59, UMass 6

Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton might not always break off a big run. Kalen King might not always get an interception. Drew Allar might not always have a Heisman-level game. But what can people always count on? Penn. State. Covers.

Aidan Conrad (5-0): Penn State 59, UMass 6

This is the game where people think Penn State will finally not be able to cover the spread, but I don’t think that’s the case. The Nittany Lions will jump on the Minutemen from the start and will have smooth sailing heading into next week’s top-10 matchup in Columbus.

Matt Brown (5-0): Penn State 65, UMass 10

Like the Northwestern game, we’re gonna keep this simple once again: this game will not be close. The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 6 in the county for a reason. They’re one of the best teams in the nation. This will be a simple tune-up game for Penn State as it gets ready for its matchup against Ohio State. Make this game quick and move on to next weekend.

Brady Miller (5-0): Penn State 56, UMass 3

Coming off the bye week, this should prove to be a nice tune-up game for the Nittany Lions before entering the roughest part of their schedule.

The only question is if Penn State will be able to cover the massive 41.5-point spread placed on Saturday’s matchup.

Jamie Lynch (2-0): Penn State 70, UMass 0

Call me crazy, but it’s UMass. Penn State is substantially better than the Minutemen, and the score should reflect that. I understand the Nittany Lions are often slow coming off the bye week, but have proved that they can put up a high score even with a slow start. Not to mention that Massachusetts has one of the worst-ranked defenses in college football.

This game should be a great opportunity to warm up the offense before Ohio State and maybe try out the deep ball (kidding, sorry James Franklin). Expect to see a lot of playing time out of Penn State’s beloved backup quarterback Beau Pribula. I’m taking the “over” on 50 rushing yards from No. 9 this weekend.

Brendan Wagner (5-0): Penn State 56, UMass 10

This game will be a wash, figuratively and literally. Look for the second and third teams to both get quality snaps early in this game.

Ericka Apolskis (2-0): Penn State 48, UMass 6

It’s going to be cold and rainy, but it’s still going to be a blowout either way.

Mitchell Corcoran (2-0): Penn State 55, UMass 7

Coming off a bye week and another slow start the week prior at Northwestern, it’s important to take control of this game early for Penn State. I expect the Nittany Lions to do just that, especially with Ohio State around the corner. 

UMass is prone to slow starts as well. So far this season, UMass has been outscored 75-21 in the first quarter alone. UMass’ last win was in week zero against New Mexico State. Since then, the Minutemen have struggled to find the win column again. UMass allows 39.4 points per game, the second worst in the country, and Penn State allows 9.6, the second best in the country.

CJ Gill (3-0): Penn State 52, UMass 6

Folks, this won’t be a close one. The Nittany Lions are far ahead of the Minutemen at every position on both sides of the ball. The starters for James Franklin won’t be in for very long, as Penn State gears up for Ohio State in a week’s time. Not even the impending bad weather keeps this game close.

Cooper Cazares (2-0): Penn State 65, UMass 3

Not much to report here. Penn State will score as much as it wants to. Look for James Franklin to empty the bench and get as many of his players in the game as possible. Let’s not overthink this. Penn State moves to 6-0.

Fernando Martinez (2-0): Penn State 59, UMass 7

Poor UMass, this game will most likely be over by the end of the first quarter.

Penn State is coming off rested from its bye week, so it has had two weeks to prepare for this game, and UMass is coming into this game with a six-game losing streak. It hasn’t won since week one, and there’s no way its losing streak will come to an end at Beaver Stadium.

As for Penn State, this is the perfect opportunity to get off to a fast start. Slow starts have been a consistent theme of Penn State’s season this year despite being 5-0, and it’s something that it needs to improve on if it wants to beat teams like Ohio State and Michigan.

I think Penn State will take advantage of this opportunity and put this game to bed by the end of the first quarter. By halftime, James Franklin is going to bench all his starters so they can all be healthy for next week’s showdown against Ohio State.

Michael Siroty (1-0): Penn State 45, UMass 14

Coming off the bye week, I’m expecting the offense to move a little slowly, especially in the rainy conditions ahead. However, it still is Penn State against UMass, so there isn’t much analysis in this prediction, and I don’t exactly think it’ll be a close game. The backups will likely get a good amount of time on the field to keep the starters healthy for next week’s matchup against Ohio State.

Cadyn Gill (0-0): Penn State 43, UMass 6

UMass won’t be able to block Penn State’s pass rush and the UMass defense won’t be able to stop the duo of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton, who will rush for a combined 200 yards on the ground.

Kyra Birmingham (1-0): Penn State 48, UMass 7

This matchup will be a repeat of the 2014 win. Though the rain could pose an annoyance for Penn State’s offense, it will still easily run up the score. While UMass will somehow find its way to the end zone once, it will hold no threat to the undefeated Nittany Lions.

Nolan Wick (5-0): Penn State 56, UMass 0

I’m not concerned about James Franklin’s post-bye week woes against a team of UMass’ caliber. The Minutemen simply don’t have enough firepower to keep up with the Nittany Lions.

Penn State will win on Saturday, so instead, a storyline to follow is how fast the team will start. That’s the biggest thing that could hold this team back in the future. While the sample size won’t paint the most vivid picture, I’m interested to see what happens.

Having said everything, Penn State will win by a mile. It’ll be a quick day for Drew Allar and the rest of the starters, as they’ll be replaced by the second and third strings either at halftime or early in the third quarter.

CJ Doebler (5-0): Penn State 63, UMass 6

If punter Riley Thompson sees the field at all during the first half of this game, the Nittany Lions have failed. UMass is statistically one of the worst teams in the FBS, and although anything can happen, the Nittany Lions are expected to tee off on the Minutemen.

Penn State, however, can still use this game as a learning opportunity and improve on getting the offense to click earlier in the game rather than later. I don’t think we see the starters much, if at all, in the second half. Come the fourth quarter, it’s entirely possible we have both a Jaxon Smolik and a Tank Smith sighting.

Joe Lister (5-0): Penn State 41, UMass 13

Call me a hater, but I’m not picking Penn State against the spread here. I’ve picked it not to cover before, and I was wrong against Iowa. This time, though, I think I’m right. Penn State sucks coming off the bye week. To add to that point, James Franklin’s teams have actually done better against the Michigans and Ohio States of the world than against worse opponents (did somebody say nine overtimes?). I’m not picking Penn State to lose to UMass, but I will pick them to struggle out of the gate before rallying ahead of Ohio State in a week’s time.

Oh, and it’s gonna rain.

Keeley Lamm (5-0): Penn State 44, UMass 12

I’ll never bet against the Nittany Lions.

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