FOS FEARLESS FORECAST: Penn State-Maryland

FightOnState.com's crack staff chimes in with game picks for the Nittany Lions' showdown with Maryland in Baltimore. Included is a video pick from former Penn State OT Keith "Goon" Conlin.


Mark Brennan (mxbscout)

Comment: Talking to some Penn State players after the Ohio State game, I didn't get the sense they were going to let the Buckeyes beat them twice. I expect the Nittany Lions to be healthy and focused, and bounce back against a team that has had issues stopping everyone.
Prediction: Penn State 27, Maryland 17

Scott Cole (PSU96)

Comment: The Nittany Lions need to leave the loss to Ohio State behind and refocus. Fortunately, they have Maryland up next. The same Maryland that disrespected the Lions on their own field last year by refusing the pregame handshakes at the coin flip and then added insult to injury by beating Penn State by a single point. The Lions will be motivated to put those memories in the rearview mirror and will take their frustrations out on a down and out Terrapin team that has already gotten its head coach fired this season.
Prediction: Penn State 28, Maryland 13

Harvey Levine/FOS

Keith Conlin (keithconlin)

Comment: This team needs no motivation after the way the Terps acted last year BEFORE they beat us at home. We need to really take control early and don't let them think they can play with us. Last week was tough, but we need to forget it and move on. Five games left. This is one we HAVE to have
Prediction: Penn State 31, Maryland 7

Nirav Dalal (PlaybookNirav)

Comment: Not enough has been made of the fact that Penn State has only turned the ball over five times this season. PSU will protect the rock, run the rock and score the rock at will against a really bad Maryland team. 
Prediction: Penn State 38, Maryland 10

Mark Harrington (PlaybookMark)

Comment: I expect we'll see an all-out performance from the defense, which is looking for some redemption after OSU. The offense has a major spark in Barkley but the coaches can't put it all on his shoulders. 
Prediction: Penn State 24, Maryland 16

Tom Hoffman (underscoreTom)

Comment: Assuming everyone who was healthy for OSU remains that way Saturday, I think this squad won't have any trouble getting over the OSU loss. There are obvious motivational factors at play vs. Maryland, and with Barkley's ankle at 100 percent, the Terps won't have any answer. Perry Hills is a dangerous runner for Maryland, but he's no J.T. Barrett. I still expect a game much like IU and Rutgers, where points get left on the table. 
Prediction: Penn State 28, Maryland 7


Harvey Levine/FOS

Tom McLaughlin (WeRPSUPlaybook)

Comment: The Lions have issues, not the least of which is putting the sting of the Ohio State loss behind them. Fortunately for Penn State, the Maryland program is a hot mess right now with the firing of Randy Edsall. There should be plenty of motivation for Franklin and the coaching staff to draw on when preparing the team, and Penn State fields superior talent. So the wild card is in the execution. Game ball in advance to the defense, which should carry the day. 
Prediction: Penn State 24, Maryland 10

Donovan Neal (PSUMtnBike)

Comment: Penn State will be ready for Maryland emotionally this year, but don't expect the Terrapins to hide in their shells. Will the young Lion defense be ready for the tricks and unknowns of a new coaching staff with nothing to lose? I think so. 
Prediction: Penn State 27, Maryland 17

Rob Riva (rriva)

Comment: Penn State sees payback on Saturday and needs to be able to beat a weak Maryland team that already lost its coach mid-season. Assuming Barkley is steadily fed the ball, the Nittany Lions win.
Prediction: Penn State 20, Maryland 16


Mark Brennan (mxbscout)
Comment: Barring the loss of a key player or two, Penn State figures to be favored in every game but two -- and I don’t see the Lions winning at Ohio State or Michigan State. They’ll stub their collective toe in one other game along the way because they are still very young and there is a big question mark at kicker. But expect significant improvement from last season.
Prediction: 9-3

Scott Cole (PSU96)
Comment: The first half of the 2015 schedule is tailor-made to allow the much more athletic, but still young, Nittany Lions to get comfortable and rack up wins before things get tougher. Outside of Ohio State and Michigan State, this Penn State team should be able to hold its own against anyone as long as the offensive line shows enough improvement to give the running backs a hole to run through and Christian Hackenberg time to throw more often than not.
Prediction: 9-3

Harvey Levine/FOS
Keith Conlin (keithconlin)
Comment: Gotta say I am looking forward to this season more than any I have in a long time. Hack and company will do some stuff not seen around here. Big Maple will get it done for sure, but obviously this season is 150 percent dependant on the O-line. True story. Every writer in the world will say that, but it really is the case this year. Defense will be great. Offense could be great IF the line gets Hack time. Bottom line: O-line gets it done and we are 10-2. The O-line doesn't, 7-5. Goon’s got faith in Herb Hand getting his guys straight. Let's get it boys
Prediction: 10-2

Nirav Dalal (PlaybookNirav)
Comment: I expect the Lions to bumble their way through some early wins and then start to hit their stride by the time the visit to Columbus arrives. Losses to Ohio State and Michigan State seem likely along with a Maryland-like loss to Michigan or Indiana.
Prediction: 9-3 

Mark Harrington (PlaybookMark)
Comment: Young but talented is the theme of 2015 for the Nittany Lions. Penn State has the tools and talent to have a strong showing this season. The concerns are the showdowns with veteran Buckeye and Spartan units. This aside, I expect the Lions to have a few early slow starts, but find success with experience and have marked improvement in several areas over last season.
Prediction: 9-3

Tom Hoffman (underscoreTom)
Comment: Penn State will be better at just about every position group than it was last year. And that says a lot since PSU had one of the best defenses in the nation in 2014. And while it doesn't say much about the offense considering its struggles, that unit will be significantly better. There are still question marks on the offensive line (though written in pencil, not red ink) and someone has to step up to replace goat-to-GOAT Sam Ficken. But the schedule sets up nicely for Penn State to be a surprise team in the college football landscape this season. So I'm going to be that guy and think big.
Prediction: 10-2

Harvey Levine/FOS
Tom McLaughlin (WeRPSUPlaybook)
Comment: This is an important year for the Nittany Lions, now sanction free, as they strive to return to elite status. Penn State has done well to maintain their competitive level over the last few years, and 2015 is a season that could cement legendary status. The early season lines up well to give the Lions some comfort before the heart of the schedule arrives, and in a Big Ten that has shown a lot of weakness in recent years, there are few obstructions between this team and a significant post season bowl. Put a big circle around the Ohio State and Michigan games. If Franklin is able to motivate the team around the travesty of the 2014 officiating meltdown, this could be an epic season.
Prediction: 10-2

Donovan Neal (PSUMtnBike)
Comment: The schedule is set-up nicely for this young team to grow. The defense should be stout, but serious questions remain in the kicking game and along the offensive line. To help protect the QB and open up the offense, the Lions must establish an early rushing attack and remain consistent throughout the year.
Prediction: 9-3

Rob Riva (rriva)
Comment: Penn State remains a young but very talented and athletic team that should show improvement over last year's campaign, particularly with a favorable schedule. Key question marks include how much the offensive line will improve over last season and whether the Nittany Lions' kicking situation can get resolved in a hurry. The Bob Shoop-led defense should be as good, if not better, than last year's corps which will keep the Nittany Lions in most of its games. Look for Penn State to drop losses in Columbus and East Lansing as well as two other games as a result of either offensive line or kicking woes.
Prediction: 8-4


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