Detroit News predictions: Penn State at Michigan State

The Detroit News
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford runs for a first down against Michigan.

Matt Charboneau, Angelique S. Chengelis, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan State vs. Penn State game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. (3:30, ABC/760).

Matt Charboneau: The Spartans say the week off has them refocused and ready to get back on the winning track. Of course, they’ll be facing their third straight top-10 opponent and a Penn State team coming off a big win last week over Michigan. The Nittany Lions live by the big play, something that has burned the Spartans the past few weeks. If Michigan State can limit those plays this week and manage to reach the end zone a couple of times, the upset is possible. But after two straight blowouts, nothing seems certain for the home team. Penn State 24, Michigan State 14

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Angelique S. Chengelis: It has been a struggle to say the least for Michigan State, which was off last Saturday, before facing Penn State this weekend. The unbeaten Nittany Lions are coming off a win over Michigan and are poised to make it a sweep of the Michigan schools. The Spartans have endured big losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin, having been outscored 72-10, but can they muster something offensively to give the Nittany Lions a game? The offense has been inconsistent, so if the Spartans have chance, it will be because of their defense. Penn State has weapons on offense, namely Pontiac-native K.J. Hamler, who Michigan failed to contain. That will be Michigan State's task, and it's a tough one. Penn State has a lot of momentum right now, and Michigan State is searching for some consistency. Penn State 17, Michigan State 10

John Niyo: Michigan State has had Penn State's number, and the Spartans are coming off a bye. But unless that defensive front can rattle Sean Clifford and force multiple turnovers — and that's certainly possible — I'm not sure they'll be able to manufacture enough big plays offensively to spring another upset in East Lansing. Penn State 27, Michigan State 17

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Bob Wojnowski: Down or not, Michigan State almost always gets up for Penn State, and Mark Dantonio is 4-1 against James Franklin. For the Spartans to have a chance, their defense will have to dig deep after back-to-back dispiriting losses, and they’ll have to keep KJ Hamler from running wild in their secondary. This isn’t a good matchup for a Michigan State offense trying to get untracked, and the Nittany Lions’ talented defense will keep Brian Lewerke on the run. Penn State 20, Michigan State 10