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Jury still out on Joe Pa, Lions

• Buckeyes picked to beat hapless Hoosiers; Spartans to stop two-game streak

November 4, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Buckye Blitz ( , Times Leader

Not so long ago, we were ripping Joe Pa and his Nittany Lions for what was perceived by many, a declining, once-proud program no longer capable of contending for a BCS title.

While it's true, Penn State was humbled by Alabama at Happy Valley the 10th of September, the Lions have not lost since.

If not overwhelming, Mt. Nittany has continually discovered ways to close out opponents - from a 16-10 road victory at Indiana to a 13-3 upending of Iowa to a 10-7 last-minute comeback nod over Illinois.

This Saturday, Penn State experiences its bye week before the Lions begin what likely will be a season-defining, three-game stretch against Nebraska (at home) followed by road tests at Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, there's nothing resembling a high profile matchup on this weekend's Big Ten card.

Regardless, here's my projections:

INDIANA (1-8, 0-5) AT OHIO STATE (5-3, 2-2). Though Bucks may not be at full mental capacity, a less than inspiring effort still gets the job done.

Buckeyes, 37-10.

MINNESOTA (2-6, 1-3) AT MICHIGAN STATE (6-2, 3-1). Gophers ended four-game losing streak last week. They figure to start a new one at East Lansing. Spartans, 45-13.

MICHIGAN (7-1, 3-1) AT IOWA (5-3, 2-2). Hawkeyes managed 22-21 loss last week at Minnesota. Coming home to Iowa City won't help much this Saturday. Wolverines, 34-23.

PURDUE (4-4, 2-2) AT WISCONSIN (6-2, 2-2). Any chance Badgers are anxious to get back to Madison following last-second road reversals at Michigan State and OSU?

Badgers, 48-17.

NORTHWESTERN (3-5, 1-4) AT NEBRASKA (7-1, 3-1). Huskers coming off statement win over Sparty and continue to impress.

Cornhuskers, 33-17.



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