Eastern Michigan Eagles head to Penn State after being rolled over by 24th ranked Michigan last week and should find things a little more comfortable this time around. Saturday the two will meet at University Park in an early 9:00 AM start with the Nittany Lion sitting as a heavy -28.5 point favorite with a posted Total of 44.5 this weekend.
With Penn State returning most of its offense one would have figured that scoring points would not have been the biggest problem for the Nittany Lion this season. But after three games this season Penn State sits last in the Big Ten in terms of total offense, passing offense and points scored. With an offense averaging 12.5 points per game you can see how taking the +28.5 with Eastern Michigan can be appealing. Part of the problem seems to be the Nittany Lion still trying to decide who their top quarterback is, and neither of their signal callers has established themselves to make that decision for the coaches. Even Head Coach Joe Paterno admitted this week that he may be making a mistake in not making a choice at quarterback and sticking with it.
Eastern Michigan has done a decent job of establishing the run this season and in what I expect to be a low scoring game I think that will be key to an Eagles cover today. We have established that Penn State has shown little life with the ball so if Eastern Michigan can have any success on the ground this one will be much closer than the line indicates. RBs Javonti Greene and Dominique Sherrer should have success here and Eagles QB Alex Gillett is a competent rusher as well who can keep the defense guessing.
Eagles’ defense did well to control the Michigan passing game last week, holding the Wolverines to 95 passing yards on a 7 of 18 passing effort from QB Denard Robinson. I look for more of the same today versus Penn State as both sides stick to the ground while the clock ticks away. The Under has cashed 9 of 10 Penn State non-conference games which also leads itself to a big dawg cover.
Eastern Michigan +28.5 is just too many points for Penn State to be giving up in this spot. The expectation of a heavy ground from both sides and the struggling Nittany Lion offense has me taking the 4 TDs with the dog here.