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Penn State Opens as 5-Point Favorites Against Minnesota

Nicholas Singleton, Penn State running back
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Penn State Nittany Lions Running Back Nicholas Singleton (10) runs with the ball past Central Michigan Chippewas Defensive Back Ronald Kent Jr. (2) defending during the first half of the college football game between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 24,2022, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Although some fans might think Penn State should never be favored again after this past Saturday’s embarrassing loss at Michigan, the Nittany Lions are indeed an five-point home favorite against Minnesota, according to Circa Sports.

The Gophers come to Beaver Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 23, to take on Penn State at 7:30 on ABC in the school’s famous White Out game.

Minnesota is 4-2 overall and has lost two of its last three games, falling at home against Purdue Oct. 1 and at Illinois this past Saturday.

Minnesota suffered an additional blow during its most recent loss when sixth-year quarterback Tanner Morgan had to be carted off the field. The last time Morgan and Minnesota played Penn State, the Gophers upset the Nittany Lions, 31-26, in Minneapolis.

Morgan completed 18 of his 29 passes, throwing for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Morgan’s opposite that day, Sean Clifford, is still Penn State’s starter, and also left Saturday’s game with an injury.

If Clifford and Morgan are both good to go, it will be a battle of sixth-year quarterbacks.

The offensive coordinator for Minnesota in that game is a name familiar to Penn State fans: Kirk Ciarrocca. After the 2019 season, Penn State hired Ciarrocca away from Minneosta to be its offensive coordinator. After a 4-5 season, Franklin fired Ciarrocca and replaced him with Mike Yurcich.

Now, Ciarrocca is back at Minnesota and might take extra satisfaction in helping Minnesota knock off the school that fired him and ruin both the White Out and Homecoming.

It wouldn’t be the first time Minnesota has ruined the latter. In 1999, Penn State came into its Homecoming matchup with Minnesota 9-0 and ranked No. 2. The Gophers stunned Penn State, 24-23, on a 32-yard field goal by Dan Nystrom at the buzzer.

Penn State badly needs a win after Saturday’s 41-17 “Michigan Massacre.” Jim Harbaugh’s team dominated James Franklin’s and didn’t punt once the entire afternoon.

 

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