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NSN Staff Predictions for Penn State-Northwestern

This years Blue-White Game is scheduled to kickoff at 2.

Here’s what our staff thinks will happen in today’s Penn State-Northwestern game.


Brandon Walker:
 Penn State will get up more for this game than last week. It knows heading into the bye that it needs to be sharp heading into the teeth of its schedule. Look for Penn State to put this game to bed early and get the freshmen some much-needed reps.

It is going to need the young players to step up in the next few weeks.

PENN STATE 41, NORTHWESTERN 20

Logan Carney: Northwestern will cover but the game will always be Penn State’s to lose. There’s obviously a massive talent difference between No. 11 Penn State and 1-3 Northwestern, which has lost two straight games to non-power five schools.

However, I am not yet fully convinced that Penn State has returned to being a threat for the Big Ten title. It’s best opponent has been 2-2 Purdue. Let’s not forget that Penn State started 5-0 last year and was ranked No. 4 in the country before dropping six of its last eight games to finish 7-6.

Penn State is obviously much better than Northwestern, but better enough that it covers a 25.5-point spread? I honestly don’t know.

PENN STATE 38, NORTHWESTERN 23

Alan Saunders: Which Penn State team shows up Saturday, the one that nearly got Auburn relegated to the southern conference or the one that nearly lost to Purdue?

I’m guessing the former, but Northwestern is well-coached enough to take advantage of mistakes if Penn State makes them.

PENN STATE 35, NORTHWESTERN 17

Mike Asti: Penn State should win, and I think it will, but based on who the Nittany Lions have struggled with at times this season, this could be a test simply because Northwestern, while not good, competes and can take advantage of mistakes.

If PSU wants to prove it deserves a top 10 ranking and can contend for the Big Ten title, flexing its muscles in a game like this could go a long way.

PENN STATE 42, NORTHWESTERN 24

Joe Smeltzer: The bigger question seems to be not if Penn State will win, but how much it will win by.

Sure, Northwestern could give Penn State a game and certainly could cover 25.5 points.

Although it might be the worst team in the Big Ten, Northwestern (probably) won’t stink in every game it plays this season. Pat Fitzgerald is a good coach, and if the weather is lousy, that could make it tough for an offense to score a lot of points and thus cover a lot of points.

But I think Penn State wins and covers because I can’t see it sleepwalking through a game two weeks in a row.

Penn State fans weren’t happy with its 33-14 win over Central Michigan last Saturday and I doubt coach James Franklin and the team were either. A concern coming into this game is that Penn State will be looking ahead to Michigan, but I think it’s more likely that the team is looking ahead to its bye week.

I’ve never been a football player, but I don’t think I have to be one to know that football players look forward to a week off. Penn State knows it can only enjoy that week if it beats Northwestern, and I think it will do so comfortably.

PENN STATE 44, NORTHWESTERN 14

 

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