After the Michigan game, their seemed to be a groundswell in the Penn State blogosphere that the Michigan State game was their for the taking. I include myself in that group and after Penn State beat Northwestern, I was almost certain of it. The next Saturday, at Ohio State changed that thinking. It was not that the Nittany Lions lost that Saturday, but it was how they lost. With LB Mike Mauti sidelined with an injury, the defense was porous and lacking any fire. He’s been out ever since with some sort of shoulder injury. If he comes back, Penn State’s chances improve even if he’s playing hurt. If he’s somehow 100%, I’d say Penn State would win. But I dont’ tink that will happen.
Penn State can still win without Mauti, but they have to get a pass rush they have not had all season. Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins is among the walking wounded, so if they can get to him they have a strong chance. I’m skeptic though.
In the end, I think all the talk about being a soft 10-1 just helps Sparty out. They will be fired up to prove that they did not win those games by accident. I don’t think Penn State is healthy enough for the upset, even at home. It is a noon start too which does not help the Nittany Lions. Penn State can win, but it gives me no pleasure to say they probably won’t.
Michigan State 34
PENN STATE 28