Northwestern vs. Penn State - 10/7/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-2)
College Football: Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm (Ryan Field)
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats +14 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The Penn State Nittany Lions and Northwestern Wildcats meet Saturday in college football action at Ryan Field on ABC.
The Penn State Nittany Lions look for a nice road victory to start 6-0 for the first time since the 2008 season. The Penn State Nittany Lions have won four straight road games. Trace McSorley is completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,352 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. McSorley has two or more touchdown passes in 10 of his last 12 games. Saquon Barkley and DaeSean Hamilton have combined for 717 receiving yards and six touchdowns while Juwan Johnson has 18 receptions. The Penn State Nittany Lions ground game is averaging 179 yards per contest, and Barkley leads the way with 574 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Penn State is allowing 9.4 points and 289.2 yards per game. Jason Cabinda leads the Penn State Nittany Lions with 35 tackles, Shareef Miller has two sacks and Grant Haley has two interceptions.
USA TODAY Sports
The Northwestern Wildcats look for a statement victory to get a game above a .500 record. The Northwestern Wildcats have won five of their last seven home games. Clayton Thorson is completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,061 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Thorson has five touchdown passes in his last two games. Bennett Skowronek and Garrett Dickerson have combined for 470 receiving yards and three touchdowns while Flynn Nagel has 15 receptions. The Northwestern Wildcats ground game is averaging 126.5 yards per contest, and Justin Jackson leads the way with 273 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern is allowing 25.3 points and 384.3 yards per game. Paddy Fisher leads the Northwestern Wildcats with 37 tackles, Joe Gaziano has two sacks and Montre Hartage has one interception.
The Nittany Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games in October and 12-2-2 ATS in their last 16 games overall. The Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in October, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 conference games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall. The Nittany Lions are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings, the home team is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 meetings and the over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
I've been going back and forth on this game. We all know Penn State is great and capable of blowing out just about any team in the country when they're up for it. However, Northwestern is extremely well coached and had the returning talent to make some noise this season. In fact, Northwestern was my dark horse pick to win the Big Ten this season, but we haven't seen that potential start to kick in four games into things. The positives are that Northwestern did have Wisconsin on the ropes before caving in the fourth quarter, and we have yet to see the Wildcats play their best football. This is a team capable of being tough on the defensive end and has a solid running game when Thorson is able to help clear room for Jackson. This is also Northwestern's Super Bowl, and the crowd will be out in full force. I'm going to give the Wildcats one more chance and take the two free touchdowns. I'm not ready to give up on Northwestern just yet.