Week 13’s Penn State at Michigan State features two reeling rosters looking to get their seasons back on track. Penn State beat Rutgers but still lost four out of its last six games.
Meanwhile, Michigan State is coming off a demoralizing loss in a game where a dominant Ohio State team utterly outclassed them. To add injury to insult, star running back Kenneth Walker III and top receiver Jayden Reed were both injured during the game. With much uncertainty surrounding both teams’ health, the NCAAF odds have Michigan State as +1.5 underdogs at home.
What’s going to happen this week? First, let’s take a look at what each team must do to win.
Penn State Nittany Lions Keys to Victory
First and foremost, Penn State needs to get healthy for a Michigan State matchup that will undoubtedly be more of a test than the Rutgers game was. Last week, a flu breakout among Nittany Lions players kept 21 players unavailable for the Rutgers game. Penn State still prevailed.
The Nittany Lions will have to continue their stellar defensive play. This year, Penn State allows an average of 15.5 points per game. They’ll have their work cut out for them if Walker III can go. He’s rushed for 1,498 yards this season, and only four teams held him under 100 yards so far.
There’s no doubt that the Lions will focus on airing it out against a Michigan State defense that ranks 130th in passing yards allowed per game (340.3).
Last week, Buckeyes QB C.J. Stroud passed for 432 yards and put Michigan State in a 49-0 hole by halftime. So whether it’s Sean Clifford or Christian Veilleux at QB this week for Penn State, expect them to throw early and often.
Michigan State Spartans Keys to Victory
Michigan State will have to dig deep after a humiliating loss to the Buckeyes last Saturday afternoon. The first step will be to make some adjustments in the secondary. The Spartans are ranked 130th (out of 130 FBS teams) in completions allowed, total passing yards, and passing yards allowed per game.
On offense, Michigan State will continue to do what they have done all year, hand the ball to Kenneth Walker III. Walker III only rushed for 25 yards last week as an injury forced him to the sidelines. If he’s healthy enough to play this week, expect a bounce-back game in a big way.
Penn State vs. Michigan State: Best Bets
Penn State enters the game as a 1.5-point favorite, with the over/under set at 51.5. Both teams have been solid against the spread this year, with PSU 7-4 and MSU 7-2-2. This season, Michigan State is undefeated (5-0) at Spartan Stadium and will likely come into this one seething mad after last week’s debacle.
Neither team has an explosive offense. Penn State’s offense produced 30 or more points in only three games this year. Michigan State’s offense is a bit more productive as they’ve exceeded the 30 point mark in six games this year.
There’s a chance that Ohio State broke the Sparty spirit, but I’m banking on a bounce-back game.
Penn State at Michigan State: Who Are You Taking?
A Penn State at Michigan State game has certainly seen healthier rosters before, but you can bet that this will still be an entertaining game to watch. It’s hard to pass up points (+1.5) on a Spartans team that has yet to lose at home this year.
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