Game Preview: Penn State vs. Michigan State
Host Jeremy Ganes talks Penn State's upcoming road test against Michigan State, alongside analysts Logan Dolby, Matt McClure and Dale Ostrander. Is this the trap game of 2019?
Penn State will look to preserve its perfect season on Saturday afternoon as they square up against a well-rested Michigan State team. On the other side, coach Mark Dantonio and his team will attempt to take advantage of last weekend’s bye and bounce back from consecutive losses to No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 3 Ohio State.
The test in East Lansing will be difficult for the Nittany Lions as they’ve lost the last two matchups against Michigan State and haven’t appeared victorious in Spartan Stadium since 2009.
It will be a pivotal game for Dantonio and his team as his future in East Lansing is questionable and three of his players just entered the transfer portal.
The Spartans, who are facing their third straight top-10 team, will have a tough task against the Nittany Lion defense. Brian Lewerke will face the Nittany Lions for the third time as the starting quarterback and will rely heavily on Big Ten leading receiver Darrell Stewert Jr.
Stewert caught 46 receptions for 683 yards this season and averages 12 yards a catch in his tenure for the Spartans.
The problem for Michigan State has been the rest of the offense. The running game ranks 110th in the nation averaging 117.1 yards per game. The lack of success running the ball has forced the defense to play most of the game as Ohio State and Wisconsin combined to win the possession game 39:10 to 20:50.
Michigan State must fix major offensive problems as Brent Pry’s defense ranks No. 3 in scoring defense in the country as they hold opponents to under 10 points a game.
The Nittany Lions offense must find more options than Sean Clifford throwing to K.J. Hamler, who has seven receiving touchdowns this season while also averaging 17.6 yards per catch.
Penn State has had 31 of its 33 touchdowns from either freshman or sophomores. However, the Nittany Lions need to diversify the offense by looking at Justin Shorter, Jahan Dotson and giving the tight ends more opportunities.
The Spartans defense is tough and they will effectively take away Penn State’s best option. The team starts seven seniors, including Joe Bachie, who has totaled 279 tackles during his time in East Lansing.
The one thing that will allow Michigan State to upset the Nittany Lions is making it difficult for Clifford to find Hamler. The Nittany Lions haven’t been creative on offense this year and Clifford’s been reluctant to make the big play. Penn State needs to establish the run game in the first half, which will give Clifford more options.
Penn State will likely prevail in this game because of its defense. Michigan State has one standout player in Stewert, however, the Nittany Lions are too good to allow him to dominate.
Prediction: Penn State 24, Michigan State 7
Matthew White is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism with a double minor in Business and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism, Business, Spanish
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Logan Dolby is an all around sports fan and loves everything about sports. He is from Pulaski, Pennsylvania. Currently, he is working towards perfecting his ability of crafting his sports takes and working with all of the technology required for a job in broadcast journalism.
Sophomore / Journalism