The #14 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) host the unranked Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) on Saturday at Beaver Stadium in a game telecast regionally on ABC, with appropriate out-of-market mirrorage by ESPN. In the round, red eyes of this Turkey, this will be the first significant test of the year for many aspects of the PSU game.
The situation is that of a classic trap game. Penn State is coming off an easy blowout win against an overmatched FCS opponent, and possibly looking past Minnesota toward Michigan in the Big House a week from Saturday. Furthermore, the Lions are favored by 17 points as I write this. Minnesota is using that 17-point spread to fire up the already upset-minded troops even further. I am getting queasy thinking of the potential for another loss, particularly a second one on our home field, but it could happen.
Whichever way it goes, I doubt that it will be a blowout. The weather is liable to be marginal, which favors the team with the better running game. Thus far, after a shaky start, that has been Penn State.
Last time the two met, back in 2006, the Lions won by the slimmest of margins, 28-27 at the old Metrodome. The Lions have never faced Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster.