This matchup has a storied history. Of the 31 times the teams have faced each other, they have each won 15 times, with one tie to split it all. The victor goes back-and-forth, with big losses like the 55-16 loss suffered by Penn State in 2015, to the 45-12 trouncing that the Lions doled out last year to win the Big Ten East Championship and propel the Blue and White on to win the Big Ten Championship.
Head Coach James Franklin did not shy away from noting the strength of Michigan State’s program.
“Obviously going on the road again is going to be challenging. They're a hard-nosed Big Ten football program,” said Franklin. “They play great on defense. They're built on defense, with a defensive head coach. They're a smash-mouth offense…
While the Lions may have a challenge ahead of them, they are more than ready to tackle it head on.
Senior linebacker and team captain Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) mentioned that last week’s narrow loss to Ohio State will not be a factor in this week’s game thanks to the great attitudes of all players.
“I think the best thing about this team is we're very aware of what we're capable of. We're very aware of our potential and how good we can be,” said Cabinda. “I think that's the reason we're not really losing any confidence.”
The Spartans are having a bit of a tough season thus far, going 6-2. All games have been tensely close, with a 14-10 win over Michigan and 30-27 win against Minnesota. Their losses, too, have not been blowouts, as the team lost by just eight points to Northwestern last weekend.
Fans can expect to see a typically physical Spartan team with an unforgiving defense. Similar to Ohio State, the Green and White are likely to target Penn State’s superstar running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.).
In what is the at the tail end of three weeks of very hard games for Penn State (Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State), the team looks to pull out all the stops to get past these three foes and press on toward garnering a conference and, potentially, a national championship.
Coach Franklin was matter-of-fact about what the team needs to accomplish during the rest of the season in order to hit some of their bigger goals.
“We're going to have to be ready this week for a completely different style,” said Franklin. “But that's the case for everybody at this time of year. oth us and Michigan State have come off really tough games and have to be ready to play...that's the reality of this time of year in college football. You embrace it, make the best of it, and you work through it. That's what we will do.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Coach Franklin! Tune in to FOX this Saturday at noon to watch our Lions do what they do and leave East Lansing with a win and the Land Grant Trophy.