Penn State vs. Wisconsin prediction and Big Ten Championship Game preview. The Nittany Lions take on the Badgers on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Penn State vs. Wisconsin Game Preview
When: Saturday, Dec. 3 – 8 p.m. ET
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
TV Broadcast: FOX
It seems pretty clear that College Football Playoff committee will give Ohio State a shot at the national championship despite not even winning the East division in its own conference. That team would be Penn State, which dealt the Buckeyes their only loss to win the tiebreaker and earn a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Should Ohio State make the Playoff, could the Big Ten – which has arguably been the nation’s best conference all season – get two teams in? The winner of this contest certainly has a case. Wisconsin’s two defeats came by a combined 14 points against Ohio State and Michigan. A victory over the Nittany Lions would give the Badgers a strong argument to be included in the Playoff.
What To Know About Penn State
It’s tough to believe that Penn State was just 2-2 at one point and lost by 39 points to Michigan. It has won eight in a row since that defeat and has made a remarkable turnaround to reach its first Big Ten Championship Game. The Nittany Lions crushed Michigan State, 45-12, on Saturday, scoring 35-unanswered points after trailing by two at halftime.
Trace McSorley threw four touchdown passes against the Spartans, but Saquon Barkley was held in check, rushing 12 times for 14 yards, before leaving the game with an injury in the second half. Head coach James Franklin is expecting Barkley to play against the Badgers.
What To Know About Wisconsin
Wisconsin already had clinched the Big Ten West division before taking the field against Minnesota on Saturday, as Nebraska’s loss to Iowa the day before sent the Badgers to the Big Ten Championship Game. They remained focused, though, and knocked off the Gophers, 31-17. Coach Paul Chryst stayed with his two-quarterback system, as Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston combined to go 13 for 22.
The Badgers’ offense revolves mostly around Corey Clement, who finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns. The defense stepped up again as well, forcing four turnovers and holding the opponent to fewer than 300 yards for the third straight game.
Offense: Penn State – McSorley is coming into his own. He has 16 TDs compared to only two interceptions during Penn State’s eight-game winning streak.
Defense: Wisconsin – The Badgers rank third in the country in rush defense, giving up just over 100 yards per game on the ground.
Special Teams: Penn State – John Reid ranks third in the conference in average yards per punt return.
Coaching: Even – Chryst and James Franklin have guided their teams to this title game, a matchup that few expected.
Intangibles: Even – Playing on a neutral field puts roughly an even amount of each team’s rabid fan base in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Matchup To Watch
Barkley vs. Wisconsin’s run defense
McSorley won’t be able to win this game by himself like last week. Barkley is going to need to break through the Badgers’ defense and put together a solid game if Penn State expects to come out of this matchup victorious.
Spread: Wisconsin -3
Over/Under: No line as of post time
Penn State vs. Wisconsin Prediction
This is going to be a tight game and could turn into one of those old-fashioned Big Ten slogs. The Badgers’ defense will hold for one more possession, though, and they’ll win this game with a late field goal.
Penn State vs. Wisconsin Final Score Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Penn State 14