Game Preview: Michigan
Mitch Stewart, Dylan Huberman, David Hadar and Jason Marcus preview the Nittany Lions' upcoming game against Michigan.
The No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0,3-0 Big Ten) come off a bye week and are gearing up to face the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (5-1,2-1 Big Ten) this Saturday.
The Wolverines are coming off a tough overtime victory against Indiana last week. The journey for this Michigan team has not been as smooth as they would have liked. After starting out 3-0, the Wolverines lost senior quarterback Wilton Speight to three broken vertebrae in his back in their win against Purdue. Now with senior backup quarterback John O’Korn under center, the Michigan offense has struggled even more than with Speight starting. Against Indiana alone, O’Korn was 10 of 20 for a total 58 yards passing. His struggles were even more evident in their loss to Michigan State where he threw no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Penn State, on the other hand, is coming of a solid win over Northwestern. Junior quarterback Trace McSorley had good outing, throwing for 245 yards and one touchdown. Despite McSorley’s performance, Junior running back Saquon Barkley had another tough time compared to his standards. This is not saying much, because he was still able to punch in two touchdowns.
This Nittany Lion team is about to begin their toughest stretch of games this season. The key to keep their ongoing success is going to be the offensive line. Head coach James Franklin has had a whole bye week to fine tune and find what is wrong with this struggling offensive line. This has to be priority especially against this strong Michigan defense, that is tied for second in the Big Ten with 20 total sacks so far this season.
Coach Franklin needs to make the proper adjustments in order to give this dynamic Penn State offense time to breath and get on a roll. As their last six opponents can attest, this offense has the potential to explode at any point of the game. On the defensive side of the ball, this Nittany Lions team has not been anything less but dominate, only allowing nine points per game. With Michigan’s offensive woes this could potentially be a field day for this defense.
As for Michigan in order to leave Happy Valley with a win, its defense really needs to take over the game. It has only allowed 86 rushing yards per game, which means that Barkley will have his work cut out for him. The Michigan offense, however, has to manage to stay in the game as much as possible. While the Nittany Lions have allowed 291 yards passing over the course of this season, it is up to O’Korn to make sure he limits the turnovers in order to give that defense some rest.
With this being Penn State’s annual White Out game, the Wolverines are going to have a lot to handle. This is the fifth time that Michigan has played in a White Out game since its consummation in 2004. However, despite how great Michigan’s defense is, they have too many problems on offense to keep up with the explosive Penn State offense. Penn State should hand Michigan their second loss of the season with the final score 32-17.
Carlos Flores is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.