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FOS FEARLESS FORECAST: Penn State-Northwestern

Predictions are all over the place as FightOnState.com's crack staff and friends size up the Nittany Lions' weekend matchup with the Wildcats in Evanston.

Mark Brennan (mxbscout)

Comment: I'm just not sure the Wildcats can score enough to beat Penn State. They have posted a total of 18 touchdowns in eight games and their 20.9 points per outing are the lowest in the B1G. 

Prediction: Penn State 21, Northwestern 17

Scott Cole (PSU96)

Comment: Northwestern is coming off a bye, which allowed it to hit the reset button following consecutive blowout losses that dampened the enthusiasm of a 6-0 start. Penn State is making progress and now has to show that it can make a strong showing against a quality opponent on the road. Unfortunately, I think the grueling 10 straight games without a bye for the Nittany Lions will be a factor in this one, as the well-rested Wildcats will be the fresher team and score just enough to secure the victory.

Prediction: Northwestern 20, Penn State 17

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Keith “Goon” Conlin (keithconlin)

Comment: I have a great feeling on this game. Penn State has to learn to play better on the road, for sure. Northwestern is well coached and disciplined, and will be a real tough test. Loved how the defense played last week and the offense is catching up. Should be a great game

Prediction: Penn State 34, Northwestern 10

Nirav Dalal (PlaybookNirav)

Comment: Northwestern started out hot but has fizzled as of late. The Wildcat offense is struggling and the defense is not getting pressure on QBs, as they did early in the season. Penn State showed tremendous progress last week and I think it continues this week.

Prediction: Penn State 28, Northwestern 20 

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Mark Harrington (PlaybookMark)

Comment: Northwestern pounced early, but hasn’t been as fierce recently. I expect the Wildcats to come out tough against Penn State, but watch for PSU to carry some momentum from the Illinois game into this one.

Prediction: Penn State 24, Northwestern

Tom Hoffman (underscoreTom)

Comment: There's no doubt that against Illinois, Penn State put together its most complete game in the James Franklin era. However, the team now returns to the road, where it is allowing nearly 34 points per game against teams with mobile QBs. Enter Northwestern, a team that has a mobile QB. The Wildcats have been tamed some in their past three games (themselves allowing more 30 points per outing) so this could be one of those ugly "last one to screw up loses" kind of games.

Prediction: Northwestern 20, Penn State 13

Harvey Levine/FOS

Tom McLaughlin (WeRPSUPlaybook)

Comment: Strong out of the gate, the Wildcats have turned into Mildcats in their last two games. Meanwhile, the slow-starting Lions finally sunk their teeth into an opponent last week. If the trends continue, this should be a happy day for Happy Valley. Northwestern has had a bye week to regroup, which will come into play, and the grueling schedule could result in signs of Lion fatigue. These factors will conspire to make the game closer than it should be, with the edge to an improving Penn State.

Prediction: Penn State 17, Northwestern 13

Donovan Neal (PSUMtnBike)

Comment: Another toss-up game. At first glance, I thought this would be a Northwestern victory at home coming off a bye week — as a much more seasoned team against stiffer competition. On second glance, stats show that when the Wildcats don’t run the ball well they lose. Penn State's defense should be ready to stop the run. This game comes down to how the Lions; offense handles Northwestern's defense.

Prediction: Penn State 24, Northwestern 23

Rob Riva (rriva)

Comment: This is an intriguing matchup and is a huge statement game for Penn State as it starts the final (brutal) stretch of its 2015 regular season. Clayton Thorson will be the key, and the Nittany Lions’ ability to keep him in the pocket will be paramount. Momentum certainly works in Penn State's favor, but after a long stretch with no bye week for the Lions, I look for Northwestern to pull one out in Evanston..

Prediction: Northwestern 24, Penn State 16

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