Know Thy Enemy is a Q&A where the perspective changes from the eyes of The State News to the eyes of the student newspaper of Michigan State's opponent. This week, The State News' football beat writer Jenna Malinowski spoke with football beat writer Spencer Ripchik of The Daily Collegian ahead of Saturday’s matchup.
Michigan State football is looking to end the season on a high note as the Spartans head to Happy Valley for a matchup with Penn State in the Battle for the Land Grant Trophy. MSU (5-6) is in the hunt for one last win that would grant them bowl eligibility while Penn State (9-2) is looking to finish the season strong and flip the script on the last time these two teams met.
Ahead of Saturday’s matchup, The State News’ football beat writer Jenna Malinowski spoke with Spencer Ripchik of the Daily Collegian for a preview of the regular season finale.
Q: How do you think home field advantage will help Penn State?
A: It will help Penn State a lot. There won’t be that many students there because it is during a break, but it is Penn State’s Senior Day, so there will still be a decent crowd there. It will also mean Penn State’s players will play harder because it's their senior day.
Q: How has PSU changed since the two teams last met?
A: Penn State lost some key pieces, but I feel like it gained a lot more. This year, Penn State has two big time freshman running backs in Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton, who are studs. The Nittany Lions did lose wide receiver Jahan Dotson, and won’t have Parker Washington for the rest of the season, but they do have some guys in the receiver room like Mitch Tinsley, who can step up. They also can heavily rely on the run game with the two running backs.
Q: Offensively and defensively who is a player MSU should look out for?
A: On defense, its true freshman linebacker Abdul Carter. He is the closest thing Penn State has had to Micah Parsons, and it helps that he wears No. 11. He’s fast and explosive and leads Penn State in sacks in his first season. On offense, it's the two running backs in Singleton and Allen. Whichever one gets hot will be a force for Michigan State to stop.
Q: What’s an aspect of MSU’s team that could cause issues for Penn State?
A: If Michigan State can run the ball successfully, Penn State will have issues. The only big loss Penn State has had was against Michigan where the Wolverines rushed for over 400 yards. I do think Penn State has cleaned up that problem, but it is something Michigan State can expose.
Q: Final score prediction and why?
A: 38-14. Penn State is just overall the better team on paper and I don’t think Michigan State’s offense can break through Penn State’s strong defense that’s only allowed eight points per game in the last three games. The Nittany Lions need to have one of their worst games of the season to lose on Saturday.
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