October 22, 2010

LBU Staff Predictions: Penn State at Minnesota

Our weekly prognosticating and score predictions. Up this week: The Golden Gophers of Minnesota.

Coming off a bye week, facing a down-and-out opponent, it's the perfect recipe for Penn State to get back on the winning track. Or is it? Well, that's why we're here.

(Photo: Eric Miller/University of Minnesota)

 Full Game Preview


Both teams are looking for and identity Saturday, one lost its coach and the other lost a bunch of starters to injury but both are in desperate need of a win. I think the difference will be attitude; Penn State isn’t used to people questioning their heart and drive and I think the week off will be about as good for the psyche as will be for the body.

Look for Penn State to come out with a purpose, they’ve been reading bad press for two weeks. That doesn’t mean I’m predicting a blowout, with the injuries on defense the Lions are gonna give up points but I think Penn State will play much more inspired.

Penn State 24 – Minnesota 17


Finally, a game where we know exactly who/what the opponent is this year. Minnesota is not good this year. Nearly all of that blame lays with the Gophers' defense, which is the worst (points allowed per game) in the Big Ten. That's saying something when the Big Ten still includes Michigan's defense.

Penn State won't face the kind of pocket pressure Rob Bolden was subjected to in most of the games this year. Even when he wasn't sacked, he never really had much time to throw. Minnesota's defensive line is much worse than Penn State's offensive line. Again, that's just how bad this Gopher defense is. My hope is that Jay Paterno and Galen Hall put Bolden into passing situations where he can be allowed to roll out of the pocket and throw on the run, or pull it down and take it himself. The passing game is going to have to open up the run for PSU this week.

On defense, I may be putting too much stock in the return of Michael Mauti, Bani Gbadyu, Gerald Hodges (probably), and Sean Stanley. But you can't deny that fatigue and depth issues killed Penn State against Illinois' spread run offense. With more bodies to throw into battle, the defense should see a nice uptick in production.

Penn State 23 - Minnesota 20


If Penn St. spent their off week just perfecting fundamentals like
tackling, blocking, catching, etc. then this game should be cake.
Minnesota is at a crossroads and you never know if they'll be a team
that's given up on the season or one that'll be fired up following
Brewster's forced exit.

I'd like to think the bye did Penn St. a lot
of good, time to get healthy, time to get the new guys on defense
familiar with their assignments, time to get the offense on the same
page and Bolden time to study an expanded playbook. It's getting late
early and i'm looking for a much better squad from here on out, then
again maybe I'm hopelessly optimistic.

Penn State 34 - Minnesota 13


We're Penn State, they're Minnesota (and a very crappy edition of Minnesota with no hope of salvaging their season). We should win this game, no excuses. Sounds arrogant? Good. This is the attitude our players need to bring to Minneapolis tomorrow if they're going to have any hope of playing in some second-tier bowl game this December. I want to see offensive line get a push on the opposing defensive line for once, opening up holes for the running backs to get through and giving Rob Bolden ample time to make a throw.

I want to see guys on defense hitting people in the mouth and showing some of "The U" like swagger. I want to see Penn State Football out there, not a bunch of impostors in blue and white uniforms. Give me some reason, even the slightest one, to be hopeful about beating somebody other than Indiana. That is all.

Penn State 27 - Minnesota 17

Stay tuned later tonight for our weekly 11th Hour Depth Charting.

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