Throughout this 2019 season, head coach James Franklin has passed a series of tests. The first test was beating a top 25 team on the road for the first time in Iowa. The second test was Franklin’s foe, Jim Harbaugh. The third test for Franklin is this week against Michigan State, a team he has a dismal 1-4 record against during his tenure with the Lions.
The heading might be a bit confusing when you read it straight up. Last week Penn State started hot, scoring 21 straight points in the first half. In the second half, they managed only 1. Going against a stout Michigan State defense who gives up 21.0 points per game that will not fly. If Sean Clifford continues his ways, I don’t see an issue with moving the ball down the field.
Defense Continues to Lead The Way
Despite giving up 417 total yards last week (276 passing, 141 passing), Brent Pry’s defense kept Penn State in the lead the entire way. This week we face a struggling offense who only averages 23.9 points per game (93rd overall.) Despite giving up the most points against this year to date last week (21), Penn State still is only allowing 10 points per game. With Castro-Fields having a big game along with Parsons previous week, I expect them to step up again in another big week.
Running Back by Committee
With the outcries for Noah Cain coming out of the woodworks, James Franklin was asked why doesn’t he see the field more? Coach Franklin answered, “We have four backs that we like, and we are going to continue to use them” another thing coach added was Cain is the second back behind starter Journey Brown. With an average 111 yards rushing last week, I think the fans want to see more of an effort in the running department.
The KJ Hammler Effect
After earning the Big Ten offensive player of the week honors off of 108 yards 2 touchdowns on six catches, he hopes to continue his success against Sparty. Throughout this year, Hammler has proven to be a game-changer with highlight-reel touchdowns and other memorable moments. I won’t be shocked if you see another one on Saturday afternoon in East Lansing.
Keys to Victory
Don’t let off the gas if you’re up early, showing why you average 40 points per game.
Keep your defense off the field as much as possible. Last week the defense tired out, and we saw them give up more points then they have the entire season.
Get a couple of crucial turnovers to knock out the crowd early.
Don’t squander points away with silly penalties.
Don’t pull a Wisconsin; this team can be dangerous.
On October 26th in East Lansing, we will see if coach Franklin can get over that pesky Sparty hump. With the offensive capabilities and their stout defense, Penn State should walk out unscathed and 8-0.