Penn State Football schedule update: It was another turnover-plagued outing for the Nittany Lions, who gave the ball way four times in a 41-21 loss to Iowa and fell to 0-5 this past weekend, marking the worst start in the Penn State football program’s 134-year history.
Will Levis and Sean Clifford shared quarterbacking duties, and while Levis did well enough to earn the start for Week 13, the running game was nearly nonexistent (35 carries, 62 yards). If that dimension of the offense doesn’t improve, it doesn’t matter who’s under center — the Lions won’t be winning. To add to Penn State’s misery, Coach James Franklin announced star tight end Pat Freiermuth, one of the few remaining bright spots on offense, will have season-ending surgery. Mel Kiper Jr. had ranked the junior as the second-best tight end prospect in the 2021 draft.
The Lions now head to Michigan this Saturday, and the opposing Wolverines have some momentum off of a 48-42 comeback over Rutgers in triple overtime. At 2-3, Michigan will be looking to take advantage of Penn State’s woes, continue its own turnaround and keep its bowl hopes alive.
Let’s take a look at the remaining Penn State football schedule.
Big 10 Football – Penn State football schedule
Week 13: Penn State at Michigan
- Date: Saturday November 28, 2020 at 12pm (ET)
- Television: ABC
- Odds: Michigan -2.5
- Over/Under: 55.5
- Prediction: Michigan 38, Penn State 28
The Wolverines battled back from a 17-point deficit to beat Rutgers in triple overtime. Coach Jim Harbaugh pulled starting quarterback Joe Milton in favor of Cade McNamara in the second quarter, and the redshirt freshman shined in his debut.
It was quite a comeback, but the Wolverines were down 17 to Rutgers, and this is the same Michigan that lost 49-11 to Wisconsin. The Maize and Blue continue to struggle on the defensive side of the ball. With no fans in the stands, does a trip to “The Big House” even matter? Probably not, but the fact that Penn State is coming off a demoralizing defeat against the Hawkeyes makes this trip to Ann Arbor all the more daunting.
Penn State at Rutgers
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 5
Greg Schiano returns to New Brunswick for a second stint as head coach at Rutgers. While he might have an eye on the national championship for the Scarlet Knights, that is a long-term goal. To put things into perspective, Rutgers was 2-10 overall in 2019 and winless in the Big Ten. This means Schiano is putting the pieces in place to rebuild the program. The first time around, that process took five years before yielding a bowl game, and the Big Ten is not the Big East.
Rutgers notched its first B1G victory since 2017 in its opener against Michigan State, but has lost four straight since. On the other hand, this isn’t exactly a cakewalk on the Penn State football schedule, because the Scarlet Knights are at least hanging tough and staying competitive against their conference foes.
Michigan State at Penn State
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 12
Penn State wraps up its regular-season schedule at home against a Michigan State program in transition. Mark Dantonio has departed, with former Colorado coach Mel Tucker taking over. Questions persist on both sides of the ball, and it doesn’t help the cause that the pandemic limited Tucker and his staff in their ability to install new systems. The typically pesky Spartans should not be a problem for Penn State in theory, but both storied programs are slumping, which should make this a competitive clash.
Penn State Football Scores
Iowa at Penn State
- Date: Saturday November 21, 2020 at 3:30pm (ET)
- Television: BTN
- Odds: Iowa -2.5
- Over/Under: 48
- Prediction: Iowa 31, Penn State 21
- Final Score: Iowa 41, Penn State 21
Iowa scored 24 points on four turnovers, handing the Nittany Lions a 41-21 home loss. Will Levis, in his first start of the season in place of Sean Clifford, coughed up two fumbles. Clifford, in relief, threw two interceptions, including a pick-six to DT Daviyon Nixon in the closing minutes of the game. The 305-pound lineman returned it 71 yards for the touchdown, ending Penn State’s slim hope of a comeback.
Week 11: Penn State at Nebraska
- Date: Saturday November 14, 2020 at 12:00pm (ET)
- Television: FS1
- Odds: PSU -3.5
- Over/Under: 56.5
- Prediction: Penn State 20, Nebraska 17
- Final Score: Nebraska 30, Penn State 23
It was more of the same as mistakes, turnovers and another slow start found State down by three touchdowns by halftime. After throwing an interception and giving up a fumble that Nebraska returned for a touchdown, James Franklin finally pulled the plug on Sean Clifford. Backup Will Levis helped the Nittany Lions claw back in the second half, but the damage was done. Penn State dominated on offense, outgaining Nebraska 501-298 and running 91 plays to the Cornhuskers 60, but red zone struggles continue to plague the Nittany Lions.
Week 10: Maryland at Penn State
- Date: Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (ET)
- Television: BTN
- Odds: PSU -24.0
- Over/Under: 61.5
- Prediction: Penn State 38, Maryland 21
- Final Score: Maryland 35, Penn State 19
Led by new faces Rakim Jarrett and Taulia Tagovailoa, the Terrapins jumped out early to a 21-0 lead, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four possessions to upset Penn State at home. The Terps defense contained Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, including a touchdown from a forced fumble on a sack just after halftime that put it at 35-7. Penn State is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry on the ground this season. Forced to air it out, Clifford had just 27 completions in 57 attempts, missing open receivers, throwing two picks and was sacked seven times.
Week 9: Ohio State at Penn State
- Date: Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. (ET)
- Odds: OSU -12.5
- Over/Under: 62.5
- Prediction: Ohio State 45, Penn State 27
- Final Score: Ohio State 38, Penn State 25
Penn State found itself down by two touchdowns early in a game that was never truly in doubt as Ohio State defeated the Nittany Lions 38-25. Quarterback Justin Fields cemented his entry into the Heisman conversation with a four-touchdown performance. The Penn State running attack — clearly missing Journey Brown and Noah Cain — was not able to get much going on the ground. The Nittany Lions were able to avoid the turnovers that marred its performance against Indiana, but simply lacked the ability to match what Ohio State brought to the table. The loss drops Penn State out of the Top 25 for the first time in four years.
Week 8: Penn State at Indiana
- Date: Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (ET)
- Final Score: Indiana 36, Penn State 35
- Odds: PSU -6.5
- Over/Under: 58.5
Everyone will talk about Indiana’s decision to go for two, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and the replay, but it was a laundry list of mistakes that left Penn State in that position. Despite missed field goals, mental lapses and turnovers that led to 10 Indiana points, the Nittany Lions were up with 1:42 left to play. Penn State stopped Indiana on downs and needed to do nothing but run out the clock. State chose to hand the ball to running back Devyn Ford. It turned out to be the wrong decision — Ford scored instead of stopping short when Indiana let him walk in. That gave the ball back to the Hoosiers with enough time to score and send it into overtime. The win was Indiana’s first over a top-ranked opponent in 33 years.