Southern Cal vs. Penn State, 1/2/17 – Prediction & Preview
Written by: Jeffrey Stevens
USC Trojans (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2 SU, 9-3-1 ATS)
NCAAF: January 2, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Line: USC -7
The Rose Bowl has been known as the Granddaddy of them all and this year’s game could be just as exciting of any in recent memory. The USC Trojans and the Penn State Nittany Lions will take the field in Pasadena, California. Penn State will come into the game off a close win over the Wisconsin Badgers to win the Big Ten Championship while USC was able to beat up on Notre Dame 45-27 on November 26.
USC Finishes Season With Big Win Against Notre Dame
The Trojans were able to wrap up the season in a big way with a 45-27 win over Notre Dame. USC was able to outscore the Fighting Irish 10-7 in the first quarter and went into the locker room at the half up 24-7. The Trojans were able to put up 21 points through the second half to come away with a 45-27 win. Quarterback Sam Darnold was able to complete 19-29 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. USC was able to out gain Notre Dame 412 total yards to 408 and each team managed to pick up 23 first downs in the contest.
USC has been able to find the endzone this season for an average of 32.9 points per game. They have racked up 468.9 yards a contest with 207.3 of them coming on the ground. The Trojans have been able to limit their opponents to 22.2 points per game while giving up a total of 359 yards a week. They have given up 133.7 yards on the ground per game, an area they will need to focus some attention on if they look to knock off the Big Ten Champs.
Penn State Knocks Off Wisconsin For Big Ten Title
It’s been a while, but the Penn State Nittany Lions can once again use the title Big Ten Champions. The Nittany Lions started the game against Wisconsin behind and went into the locker room at halftime down 28-14, but were able to outscore the Badgers 24-3 throughout the second half to come away with the 38-31 win. Trace McSorley was a stud in the game, tossing the ball for 384 yards and four touchdowns on 22 of 31 passing. Penn State outgained Wisconsin 435 yards to 415, but did cough the ball up for two turnovers. They were able to come away with the win despite losing the time of possession battle 36:57 to 23:03.
State has been solid with the ball on offense this season, scoring an average of 36.7 points per game. They have been good for a total of 430.1 total yards per contest with 168.8 of them coming on the ground. They have been tight enough on defense to limit their opponents to 23.4 points a game while giving up 352 yards. They have had some issues when it comes to stopping the run, allowing the opposition to pick up 153.5 yards a week on the ground. The Trojans could end up putting together a field day out of the backfield if they the Nittany Lions aren’t able to produce a solid game plan against the run in the next couple weeks.
- 5-0 ATS in their previous 5 games.
- The total has stayed under in 7 of their previous 8 games.
Penn State is:
- 5-0 ATS in their previous 5 games.
- The total has gone over in 5 of their previous 6 games.
These two seem very similar when it comes to offense looking at the numbers on paper. Penn State has been able to come up with some impressive conference wins against Ohio State and Wisconsin in the title game, but they also looked like a jv squad against the Defense of Michigan. The Trojans were in a weaker than usual PAC-12, but looked a lot stronger throughout the second half of the season. I like the Trojans chances in a close game if they can be productive running the ball, but I don’t see them doing doing enough to cover the spread in this one. Penn State has been able to play comfortable in the role as the underdog and they could easily come up with another surprise here.
Pick: Penn State +7
These teams have been tough on defense all year, but the PAC-12 and teams USC has went up against haven’t been the offensive powerhouses we are used to seeing this season. I want to believe after the Michigan game that Wisconsin is stronger on defense then the Trojans and Penn State was able to put up 38 against the Badgers and also 41 against the Iowa Hawkeyes. USC can move the ball up and down the field from out of the backfield and Penn State will have some issues keeping them in check. I think both teams will be able to put up some points in this one.
Pick: Total Over 62
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