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Overly Optimistic Prediction of the Week: Penn State

Gophers head to the happiest valley on Earth

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Minnesota
Shannon Brooks is back and ready for touchdowns.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers head to State College, Pennsylvania today, otherwise known as Happy Valley, to defend the cherished Governor’s Victory Bell, which has been in the U’s possession since 2013, the last time the two schools played.

In fact, the Big Ten crossover scheduling has been so wonky that the two teams have only faced each other three times since 2009, which was the last time the Gophers visited Beaver Stadium. For context, in 2009 the Black Eyed Peas were chart toppers, the Sears Tower was being renamed, and we mourned the loss of Patrick Swayze. So, yeah, it was a long time ago.

Nevertheless, the Gophers roll into town feeling cautiously optimistic about their chances to start the conference season on a high note. In what is a beatable Penn State team, the Nittany Lions are coming off a spanking at the hands of Michigan and snuck by Temple just two weeks ago. Penn State and its fans are almost certainly looking past Minnesota as a gimme to get back on track, which is exactly where we want them.

So, there are plenty of reasons to get excited for this afternoon:

  • Penn State’s rush defense is terrible and the Gophers run offense is fantastic. So, I fully expect the three-headed monster of Rodney Smith, Kobe McCrary and Shannon Brooks to put on a running clinic.
  • Lions QB Trace McSorley is still working on his awareness, so a few more of these should be in order from the D-line:
  • Penn State won the first four meetings of the rivalry (‘93-’98); then the Gophers won the next four; then Penn State won the next four. With a victory in 2013, the Gophers are clearly in the midst of what will be a four-game win streak, as the pattern suggests.
  • #LeidnerIsland is alive and well and pulling in more people than Austin, Texas these days.
  • Hey, remember this?!
  • My friend, Dill, is usually right in his football predictions, so I asked him about his thoughts for today’s game. Take it away, Dill!

24-14 gophers! Penn states offense is not good!

You should be paying for that kind of insight.

Prediction: Gophers jump out to an early lead but slowly blow it in the second half, only to come up with a huge defensive stop on Penn State’s final drive. 27-23, Maroon and Gold.

Fun facts:

  • In a 2014 comparison of 380 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, Happy Valley had the lowest vehicle theft rate. Park wherever you’d like!
  • State College, Pa. is the third-safest metro area in the nation. “Metro.”
  • Penn State has a hockey team.