Undefeated Penn State and undefeated Minnesota are set to face-off in Minnesota Saturday at noon in a competitive Big Ten battle.
Top 5 Penn State
This year’s Penn State team heads into Week 11 with an 8-0 record. The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff Ranking and No. 5 in the AP Poll. They stand atop the Big 10 East alongside Ohio State. Penn State has faced just two ranked opponents this season in Michigan and Iowa. In both of these games, the outcome was decided by one score.
However, head coach James Franklin believes that the experience from these two tough opponents will help this week against a ranked Minnesota team.
Penn State has dominated most other opponents. The team this year is led by sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford. Clifford has a completion percentage of 62.0 and has thrown for 1,931 yards, 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions on the season. Penn State’s defense has also proved dominant, allowing no more than 13 points in a game this season, with the exception of Michigan.
Franklin understands the pressure of this conference game. However, he feels it is important that the team not lose its identity this weekend.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers struggled on defense early in the season. The team allowed an average of about 31 points in the first four games this year. The last four games have been a different story entirely as the defense is beginning to look dominant led by defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. and his five interceptions. On offense, sophomore quarterback Tanner Morgan has proved dominant as well. Morgan has a 65.3 completion percentage, 1,761 yards, 18 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the season.
Minnesota is currently ranked No. 17 in the College Football Playoff Ranking and No. 13 in the AP Poll. The team currently resides at the top of the Big 10 West. A win against Penn State will be vital in climbing up in the national rankings for this Minnesota team.
While both teams enter this matchup undefeated, only one will maintain this status in the end. These two teams make up two out of the three undefeated teams in the Big 10 conference. Penn State will need a win to keep their top four ranking in the College Football Playoff Ranking. A loss to a lesser ranked Minnesota would likely move them down the ladder. For Minnesota, a win on Saturday would keep them atop the Big 10 West and increase their dominance nationally.
Two teams enter on Saturday, only one will keep their winning streak alive.