Michigan State +5.5 5.5% NCAAF POD +190 1% Bonus
This is a dreadful spot for Penn State off two physical games against Iowa and Michigan where their defense saw 153 plays, now they go on the road for the 2nd time in 3 weeks to face a Michigan State team that has their number and is off a bye. They bye could have come at a better time for Michigan State in my opinion after they were in the season’s worst scheduling spot. Name a team that had a tougher back to back road stretch than Michigan State having to face Ohio State, and Wisconsin on the road. They lost both SU & ATS, and there is no harm in that.
Penn State should have lost at IOwa they were outgained on the day, Michigan should have taken them to over time, and Michigan out gained them 417 to 283. Yet Penn State won both. I think their luck runs out here, and if you compare Michigan State with Iowa. On paper you’d think they are the same team, but Michigan State actually has the better defense against the tougher schedule. Michigan State ranks 18th in YPP allowed, and Iowa ranks 19th, but Iowa has not faced offenses with an average opponent YPP ranking 75th, compared to Michigan State’s 57.42. The run defenses which are the key to stopping Penn State right now with an inexperienced QB in Clifford still making his way. Iowa ranked 22nd, and they gave up 170 to Penn State at home, and many on third and short as Penn State went 10-19 on third down. Iowa ranked 127th in power success rate defense. Michigan State is flat out better at stopping the run ranking 25th, but have faced two of the best running teams in Wisconsin and Ohio State already. Michigan State ranks 22nd in power success rate defensive line, and they are only allowing 38% conversions on third down which is great when you consider their opponents average 44.23%. Michigan State actually matches up better than Iowa, because they should stop Penn State on third down and if they are in passing situations Michigan State has a pass rush, ranking 24th in sack % compared to Iowa who only ranked 94th. Penn State does have issues protecting the QB ranking 78th in sack % allowed, and that’s why they have chosen to lean on the running game. If it’s third and short or third and long Michigan State’s defense has the edge.
How about Michigan State’s offense, well they have faced some of the top defenses in the nation an average 37th ranked ypp defense, and have gone 0-3 against top 40 units. However, Penn State’s defense can be beat. We saw Michigan move the ball on them, and we saw Iowa move the ball on them, both have veteran QB’s just like Michigan State in Brian Lewerke. Lewerke has had great success against Penn State the last two years he threw for 659 yards 4 TD’s and 2 INT’s. He’s having a better year this year and it’s not amazing, but he’s taking care of the ball 11 TD’s to just 3 INT’s, which was another reason Iowa lost that game.
Michigan State has the nation’s best punter in Jake Hartbarger who is averaging over 46 yards per punt. This will be a huge advantage making a Penn State offense that is nothing special march extra yardage to score points. I think Michigan State will have a good game plan coming off the bye, and their offense will look a bit better than it did in their last two games.
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