For the first time this season, the entire staff is in agreement. And not in a good way.
Another Saturday has arrived and with it so too has the month of October. Yet, the Inside NU staff doesn’t seem to think the Wildcats’ September woes will end at No. 11 Penn State today. Here’s what they had to say:
Sarah Effress: Penn State 52, Northwestern 3
I don’t really know what to say at this point other than I haven’t gotten a single prediction correct and I am more confident with this pick than I’ve been with any of my others. Penn State is legit and the ‘Cats are not, and even if they were, winning in Happy Valley is a chore and a half. I think NU has one successful drive a-la-Evan Hull and Adam Stage and that’s about it.
Bradley Locker: Penn State 34, Northwestern 10
Penn State looks like it has a legitimate chance to win its division, and Northwestern, well…doesn’t (even in the bizarro Big Ten West). Sure, some Sean Clifford mistakes could make this one interesting, but expect James Franklin’s team to turn to a more ground-and-pound approach with star backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. On top of that, the ‘Cats will face one of the best defenses in the country with studs at every level. Did I mention beer sales beginning in Beaver Stadium? I just can’t see this going NU’s way.
Iggy Dowling: Penn State 44, Northwestern 9
There’s no sugarcoating this: it’s going to be almost impossible for Northwestern to win this game. Without even considering its quality of schedule the past three weeks, NU’s run defense has not fared well and is probably the team’s biggest weakness. Guess who has two freshman phenoms in their backfield who have already laid waste to an Auburn defense that entered the season with a top 15 SP+ rating? This shouldn’t be close, granted I am 0-4 in these predictions. Here’s to hoping my jinx pays off as it did in Dublin, I guess.
Gavin Dorsey: Penn State 42, Northwestern 6
Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen are going to tear this defensive unit up so badly that the linebacking corps may get left on the tarmac coming home from Happy Valley. I don’t see any way Northwestern wins this game. The ‘Cats are outmatched in every single facet, both offensively and defensively, and like everyone else, I don’t think it’ll be close.
Ben Chasen: Penn State 37, Northwestern 13
Good teams win, Chicago’s Big Ten team covers.
John Olsen: Penn State f’(x) if f(x) = 77x, Northwestern f’’(x) if f(x) = 77x
You think this is an outlandish score prediction? Just wait until the first week of November.
Sam Richardson: Penn State 38, Northwestern 3
The Wildcat offense is plain outmatched by the Penn State defense. Ryan Hilinski will struggle to find receivers, and each first down will seem like a small miracle. But, after Penn State’s performance against Central Michigan’s cover 0, I don’t think the defense will be as bad as some of my colleagues have predicted. Nevertheless, Northwestern is outmatched on both sides of the ball and it’ll show in the final score.
Mac Stone: Penn State 45, Northwestern 7
Don’t know about John’s math problems, but yeah, after seeing the last two weeks, this one won’t be close. In honor of it officially being October, the ‘Cats are about to put up their ghastliest performance yet.
Sophia Vlahakis: Penn State 52, Northwestern 10
It won’t be pretty. It won’t be close. It definitely won’t lift anyone’s spirits.
Jake Mozarsky: Penn State 49, Northwestern 17.
Nick Singleton is the most exciting running back for Penn State since Saquon Barkley, and expect him to run wild in this game. Jim O’Neil needs to bring some exotic defensive packages in order to contain Penn State’s running back corps. Putting your faith in Jim O’Neil? Oh boy.
Jason Boué: Penn State a lot, Northwestern very few
Here is a list of things you could do instead of watching the absolute walloping of Northwestern Football that will occur on Saturday in Happy Valley:
- Go for a walk.
- Take a swim in the lake on what will probably be one of the last nice days of the year.
- Start tailgating for volleyball vs. Michigan.
- Support fencing in Ryan Fieldhouse.
This game will be ugly and gross and I know that I will watch the entire thing with some hope that the ‘Cats can pull off the upset. Don’t be like me
Brendan Preisman: Penn State 35, Northwestern 10
The last time we got to see the Wildcats’ defense in action, they gave up 171 yards rushing to Keyon Mozee, a man who had just 75 rushing yards on the season heading into that contest. In this Saturday contest, the defense gets to face off against two running backs (Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen) who are both averaging six yards a carry or more. Yippee. And that’s before we get into Penn State’s defense, which completely smothered Auburn two weeks ago (forcing four turnovers) in a 41-12 domination. And given the way things are going right now for the ‘Cats, even getting a push on the spread (which is currently -25 in favor of the Nittany Lions) might be the best victory they’ll have for a while.
Zain Bando: Penn State 45, Northwestern 17
Before writing this preview, I took a look at my game-by-game staff picks and realized that I am 0-4 for the season. That’s one game less than Northwestern’s record? See what I did there….maybe I jinxed it? Oh no, but I’m any event, I digress.
It goes without saying that the Wildcats need to end the losing streak soon before it quickly goes into the abyss really fast. Unfortunately, this week is not it either. Penn State is better in all three phases, Sean Clifford’s recent play has him on a revenge tour of sorts, and this is just another Big Ten game for James Franklin. Unless something catastrophic happens and the Nittany Lions are unable to move the ball, maybe Northwestern wins, but it’s highly unlikely, in my opinion. A reminder that Northwestern has a 37.3% 3rd-down efficiency percentage, so keeping the offense out there on most drives could slow Penn State’s defense down if the number wants to improve in the games ahead.
And finally, for anyone who cares, Penn State is a 25-point favorite at home. The Wildcats are 1-3 ATS so far this year and given who they are facing, it’s hard not to understand the public’s outlook on the game either. On the bright side, though, fall is in the air.
3-1: John Olsen
2-2: Jake Mozarsky
1-3: Bradley Locker, Gavin Dorsey, Ben Chasen, Sam Richardson, Sophia Vlahakis, Brendan Preisman
0-4: Sarah Effress, Iggy Dowling, Zain Bando
1-2: Jason Boué
0-3: John Ferrara, Mac Stone
1-1: Emma Manley, Myles Gilbert
0-2: Justin Dunbar, Dan Olinger, Andrew Katz
0-1: Didi Jin