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Ken said:
Yeah, we've both had our share of hope and disappointment in this game. Let's just hope for a good b...
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College Football 2022: Week 8 Recap and Week 9 Preview
Monday, 2022 October 24 - 4:25 pm
Penn State overcomes a sluggish start and dominates Minnesota; Michigan and NC State were on bye. Big games loom in the Big Ten.

Penn State 45, Minnesota 17
It didn't look very pretty at first. After each team had four possessions, they'd only scored three points apiece, with a Sean Clifford interception sprinkled in among a bunch of 3-and-out drives. But Clifford found his rhythm in the second quarter, and the offensive line started to open up holes for Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton. The defense was stout as usual, holding Minnesota to just 2 of 13 on third downs. It should be noted that QB Tanner Morgan was out for this game, leaving the Minnesota offense in the hands of Zack Galifianakis Athan Kaliakmanis, who was pretty shaky. So in the end, it was a comfortable win for Penn State, but perhaps not indicative of a true rebound just yet.

Notably, we didn't see much of freshman QB Drew Allar for Penn State. It seemed like Sean Clifford was there to make a statement, and he did; he was dropping dimes all night and ended up with four touchdown passes and 295 yards.

#13 Penn State vs #2 Ohio State, 12:00 PM Fox
So, uh-oh... here comes Ohio State as a 16.5 point favorite. The explosiveness of the Ohio State defense is undeniable; Heisman candidate CJ Stroud has already passed for a mind-boggling 28 touchdowns in 7 games. They're #2 in points per game. You might say Ohio State has played something of a soft schedule thus far, but the degree to which they are thumping Big Ten opponents is a bit alarming.

If there's any hope for Penn State, it would be to prevent Ohio State from scoring on big plays. Notre Dame and, for a time, Iowa, kept Ohio State at bay by sitting back in Cover 2 and forcing them to grind their way down the field. The Penn State secondary is good enough to make that happen, but the defensive line has to hold up its end of the bargain and stop the OSU rushing attack from being able to sustain drives.

Even then, the offense probably has to score 35 points to have a chance at winning, and that probably has to come mostly through the air. Does Clifford now carry the confidence to make that happen, and will James Franklin give him the right plays? It's hard to be confident in that, because Ohio State is a top five team on defense as well. Wisconsin and Michigan State got to 20 points but only by scoring in garbage time. But you know, if Penn State can avoid turnovers and get some semblance of a rushing attack, then... maybe? OSU only got 294 yards against Iowa and the game was lopsided mostly because of Iowa's ineptitude on offense. With Penn State being a more balanced team, they might be able to keep it close for while. But I can't in honesty bet on a win.

Prediction: Penn State 17, Ohio State 35.

#4 Michigan vs. Michigan State, 7:30 PM ABC
On paper, Michigan State looks pretty bad. They're 3-4, with a couple of blowout losses. They're nearly last in the country in rushing and scoring. But they did manage to scrabble out a 2OT win against Wisconsin, who is mediocre but not a pushover. And they do have experience at QB in Payton Thorne. What they're lacking is a tailback who can carry the team the way Kenneth Walker did last year. They're essentially like a worse version of Penn State, with a defense and a scrappy QB that can keep them competitive in some games, but minus the complete tools to be consistent winners.

The big "but" in this game is that it's a rivalry game, and more than that, it's effectively MSU's Super Bowl, since their odds of making it to the postseason are starting to get pretty grim. So they'll be playing their butts off and pulling out every trick they can think of, and based on past experience, we know they're bound to get some lucky bounces.

If there were ever a time for Michigan to just buckle down and fundamentally whip someone, it's this week. Michigan needs to pound the ball running, play sound defense, and watch for gimmick plays. If they can avoid getting caught up in what's bound to be a dirty and sneaky MSU attack, they'll be fine.

Prediction: Michigan 42, MSU 17.

#24 NC State vs Virginia Tech, Thursday 7:30 PM ESPN
NC State comes off its bye and will play a Thursday evening game against a pretty bad Virginia Tech squad, who opened the season with a loss to Old Dominion and didn't look very impressive in their only wins against Boston College and Wofford. They were mauled by WVU, UNC, and Pitt

VT QB Grant Wells is having a bit of an off year. He's only throwing for 6.1 YPA and he's already thrown 7 interceptions on the year. Mostly he's been running for his life, as the VT pass protection has been porous. Meanwhile the VT rushing attack has only been good for 3.2 YPC and a pitiful 107 yards per game. I don't think NC State will have too much trouble containing the VT offense.

The problem, of course, is that NC State remains without QB Devin Leary, so Jack Chambers will have to keep running the show. Hopefully the bye week has given him some much-needed reps with the first team so that he understands more of the offense. He's certainly a capable passer, but I think he just doesn't have enough experience with the playbook for NC State to give him the full reins.

So it might not be pretty on either side, but I think NC State gets it done at home.

Prediction: NC State 23, Virginia Tech 9.

Notable Results
#2 Ohio State stomped Iowa 54-10. Iowa turned the ball over six times. Their defense scored their only touchdown. Ouch.

#5 Clemson rallied in the fourth quarter to beat #14 Syracuse 27-21. #6 Alabama cruised by #24 Mississippi State 30-6. LSU shocked #7 Ole Miss, winning 45-20. #8 TCU rallied in the second half to beat #17 Kansas State 38-28. #10 Oregon beat #9 UCLA 45-30, eliminating the last unbeaten Pac-12 team and very likely keeping the conference out of the playoffs. #11 Oklahoma State came back in the fourth quarter to beat #20 Texas 41-34. Wisconsin managed to hold off a good Purdue team 35-24.

Games to Watch on TV
We get Thursday night football with NC State playing Virginia Tech at 7:30 PM on ESPN.

On Saturday at noon, #2 Ohio State is at #13 Penn State on Fox. It's your Game of the Week. Notre Dame is at #16 Syracuse on ABC.

At 3:30, Florida is at #1 Georgia on CBS. That'll be no gimme for Georgia. #9 Oklahoma State plays #22 Kansas State on Fox. #17 Illinois is at Nebraska on ABC.

At 7:00 PM, #19 Kentucky is at #3 Tennessee on ESPN. Should be a good one. At 7:30, Michigan State is at #4 Michigan on ABC. At 8:00, Pitt is at #21 UNC on ACCN.
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