Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0) at Penn State Nittany Lions (2-2)
|Date & Time||Saturday October 1, 2016, 3:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Penn State Nittany Lions -4 -- Over/Under: 55
On Saturday, October 1 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, we’ve got a nice Week 5 college football matchup coming between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Minnesota comes into this game at a perfect 3-0 so far, with their most recent victory coming against Colorado State 31-24 this past Saturday. The Gophers utilized their ground game to get the win in that one, with Rodney Smith carrying 17 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns, and Shannon Brooks bagging 13 carries for 85 yards and a TD of his own. All of that running ensured Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner of an easy day, with a 16-of-20 line for 174 yards and one pick. The majority of the Gophers’ receiving came from Drew Wolitarsky, who finished with five grabs for 74 yards.
So far this year for Minnesota, Leidner has contributed an efficient 49-of-76 line for 599 yards and four touchdowns. Smith leads the Golden Gophers in rushing with 59 carries for 298 yards and five TDs, while Wolitarsky leads the Minnesota receivers with 17 receptions for 252 yards and two scores.
Penn State has had an up-and-down campaign this year so far at 2-2, and are on the downswing after a 49-10 defeat by Michigan last Saturday. The Wolverines had their way with the Lions in that game, bullying their way to six rushing touchdowns and a 35-3 lead after three quarters. Penn State’s Trace McSorley couldn’t keep pace with a 16-of-27 line for 121 yards, one TD and one interception. Saquon Barkley was the only real statistical standout for the Nittany Lions, grabbing five passes for 77 yards.
McSorley has managed a 74-for-117 mark for 949 yards, five touchdowns and three picks for Penn State so far this year, while Barkley leads the Lions in rushing with 66 carries for 317 yards and six scores. On the receiving end, Chris Godwin leads Penn State so far with 19 receptions for 228 yards and two scores.
Through three games this year, Minnesota has scored 111 points and has allowed 75 from their opponents. That means this should be a fairly high-scoring affair, as Penn State’s offense is capable of putting up big points as well. All of that said, I like the Gophers to cover here—and perhaps win outright—as they’re coming in with less wear and have had ample time to put together a feasible game plan that should help keep them from being so one-dimensional. If nothing else, this matchup should make for an exciting game to watch.