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Penn State football schedule: Beating Michigan provides some solace

Penn State Football schedule update: Everything fell into place for the Penn State Nittan yLions in Ann Arbor, cruising to a 27-17 victory over the Michigan Wolverines. The Lions avoided costly turnovers, reestablished the run and avoided falling behind early. Without running back Devyn Ford, who did not make the trip due to a family tragedy, freshman Keyvone Lee stepped up with a monster game. He rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown, giving fans hope for a future without Journey Brown. Finally, this looked like the team everyone expected this season.

A newly-confident Penn State next travels to Rutgers in search of the program’s 900th win. If the Nittany Lions play anything like they did against the Wolverines, they should get it done. This team’s margin for error is slim, though, so they can’t take this game lightly. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a comeback win over Purdue and took Michigan to three overtimes. It’s evident Greg Schiano’s program isn’t intimated by any opponent.

Let’s take a look at the remaining Penn State football schedule.

Big 10 Football – Penn State football schedule

Related: Do you bleed Nittany Lions blood? Check out more of our Penn State coverage here.

Penn State at Rutgers

  • Date: Saturday, December 5 at 12pm (ET)
  • Television: FS1 or BTN
  • Odds: Penn State -10.5
  • Over/Under: 57.5
  • Prediction: Penn State 38, Rutgers 28

After a 37-30 road win over Purdue, the 2-4 Scarlet Knights welcome Penn State to SHI Stadium. Schiano is back for his second stint as head coach and things look promising. While he might have an eye on the national championship, that is a long-term goal. Rutgers was 2-10 overall in 2019 and winless in the Big Ten, to put things into perspective. Schiano is putting the pieces in place to rebuild the program. The first time around, that process took five years before yielding a bowl game, and the Big Ten is not the Big East. Penn State should win this game, but Rutgers has shown it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Michigan State at Penn State

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 12

Penn State wraps up its regular-season schedule at home against a Michigan State program in transition. Mark Dantonio has departed, with former Colorado coach Mel Tucker taking over. Questions persist on both sides of the ball, and it doesn’t help the cause that the pandemic limited the coaching staff’s ability to install new systems. The typically pesky Spartans should not be a problem for Penn State in theory, but both storied programs are slumping, which should make this a competitive clash.

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft: Four QBs projected in top-10 picks.

Penn State Football Scores

Week 13: Penn State at Michigan

  • Date: Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 12pm (ET)
  • Television: ABC
  • Odds: Michigan -2.5
  • Over/Under: 55.5
  • Prediction: Michigan 38, Penn State 28
  • Final Score: Penn State 27, Michigan 17
Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin reacts to a touchdown in the game against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin reacts to a touchdown in the game against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State finally notched its first win this 2020 season — and it’s first in the Big House since 2009. Penn State’s offense flourished behind strong performances from freshman running back Keyvone Lee and embattled quarterback Sean Clifford. Lee rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown in relief of Devyn Ford and Clifford avoided the mistakes that plagued him in State’s first five games. The Nittany Lions committed zero turnovers all day. Outscored 117-33 in the first half of the first five games, the Lions avoided falling behind early and headed into the locker room at the half up 17-7. The defense contributed a big stop on fourth-and-one at Penn State’s 37-yard line on Michigan’s final possession.

Week 12: Iowa at Penn State

  • Date: Saturday November 21, 2020 at 3:30pm (ET)
  • Television: BTN
  • Odds: Iowa -2.5
  • Over/Under: 48
  • Prediction: Iowa 31, Penn State 21 
  • Final Score: Iowa 41, Penn State 21

Iowa scored 24 points on four turnovers, handing the Nittany Lions a 41-21 home loss. Will Levis, in his first start of the season in place of Sean Clifford, coughed up two fumbles. Clifford, in relief, threw two interceptions, including a pick-six to DT Daviyon Nixon in the closing minutes of the game. The 305-pound lineman returned it 71 yards for the touchdown, ending Penn State’s slim hope of a comeback.

Week 11: Penn State at Nebraska

  • Date: Saturday November 14, 2020 at 12:00pm (ET)
  • Television: FS1
  • Odds: PSU -3.5
  • Over/Under: 56.5
  • Prediction: Penn State 20, Nebraska 17
  • Final Score: Nebraska 30, Penn State 23

It was more of the same as mistakes, turnovers and another slow start found State down by three touchdowns by halftime. After throwing an interception and giving up a fumble that Nebraska returned for a touchdown, James Franklin finally pulled the plug on Sean Clifford. Backup Will Levis helped the Nittany Lions claw back in the second half, but the damage was done. Penn State dominated on offense, outgaining Nebraska 501-298 and running 91 plays to the Cornhuskers 60, but red zone struggles continue to plague the Nittany Lions.

Week 10: Maryland at Penn State

  • Date: Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (ET)
  • Television: BTN
  • Odds: PSU -24.0
  • Over/Under: 61.5
  • Prediction: Penn State 38, Maryland 21
  • Final Score: Maryland 35, Penn State 19

Led by new faces Rakim Jarrett and Taulia Tagovailoa, the Terrapins jumped out early to a 21-0 lead, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four possessions to upset Penn State at home. The Terps defense contained Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, including a touchdown from a forced fumble on a sack just after halftime that put it at 35-7. Penn State is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry on the ground this season. Forced to air it out, Clifford had just 27 completions in 57 attempts, missing open receivers, throwing two picks and was sacked seven times.

Week 9: Ohio State at Penn State

  • Date: Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. (ET)
  • Odds: OSU -12.5
  • Over/Under: 62.5
  • Prediction: Ohio State 45, Penn State 27
  • Final Score: Ohio State 38, Penn State 25

Penn State found itself down by two touchdowns early in a game that was never truly in doubt as Ohio State defeated the Nittany Lions 38-25. Quarterback Justin Fields cemented his entry into the Heisman conversation with a four-touchdown performance. The Penn State running attack — clearly missing Journey Brown and Noah Cain — was not able to get much going on the ground. The Nittany Lions were able to avoid the turnovers that marred its performance against Indiana, but simply lacked the ability to match what Ohio State brought to the table. The loss drops Penn State out of the Top 25 for the first time in four years. 

Week 8: Penn State at Indiana

  • Date: Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (ET)
  • Final Score: Indiana 36, Penn State 35
  • Odds: PSU -6.5
  • Over/Under: 58.5

Everyone will talk about Indiana’s decision to go for two, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and the replay, but it was a laundry list of mistakes that left Penn State in that position. Despite missed field goals, mental lapses and turnovers that led to 10 Indiana points, the Nittany Lions were up with 1:42 left to play. Penn State stopped Indiana on downs and needed to do nothing but run out the clock. State chose to hand the ball to running back Devyn Ford. It turned out to be the wrong decision — Ford scored instead of stopping short when Indiana let him walk in. That gave the ball back to the Hoosiers with enough time to score and send it into overtime. The win was Indiana’s first over a top-ranked opponent in 33 years.

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