Penn State – Michigan Predictions
Matchup: Michigan Wolverines (8-1) @ Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3)
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, November 13th @ 12:00pm EST
After a slow start, Penn State played a strong second half to leave Maryland with the first win in over month. They are right back into the thick of it this week as they welcome Michigan to Beaver Stadium. The Wolverines are ranked 6th in the country and boast an 8-1 record with their only loss coming from 7th ranked Michigan State. This will be tough game for the Nittany Lions. How tough? Let the For the Glory team tell you.
Brandon Musso (6-3)
Last week we saw a Penn State team that got off to a slow start but used a great record setting performance from Jahan Dotson to get the win over Maryland. After watching the first half, I felt as though they clearly regressed from the motivated team we saw play at Ohio State. However, to their credit they made some adjustments in the second half and finished strong.
For me, this is still one of the biggest factors when trying to assess this team. What team will we get from week to week? They are a very good team when they play with a sense of urgency and energy. However when they struggle to get up for a game, the struggles are very visible and you get a team that is very lackluster.
Penn State will now welcome a top 10 Michigan team into Beaver Stadium this week. While it’s still a home game, a top ranked Michigan team normally draws a prime time White Out. However, this one will be a noon game and I think this is a huge factor. Can Penn State come out motivated to upset the Wolverines in the early afternoon? Or will we see a team that feels bad for themselves having fallen completely out of the rankings.
Going by the numbers, you will see Michigan is the superior team. On defense, the Wolverines have averaged just 173.4 passing yards allowed per game. For a Nittany Lion team that lives by the pass, I think it will be a struggle to move the ball. They still haven’t found a consistent rushing game and take away the passing game and you have the recipe for a stagnant offense. This will be key to the game, can the Nittany Lions move the ball against the Michigan defense?
Despite the noon start time, I think Penn State will be motivated for the game and play more like we saw against Ohio State. Nittany Lions play well and win a thrilling upset over the Wolverines.
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Kraigen Rasalla (6-3)
After a nice bounce back win against Maryland, Penn State gets the opportunity to play spoiler when #6 Michigan comes into town. The Wolverines come in at 8-1 with CFP hopes still on the line. However, even with Penn State unranked, the line on this game has been very tight. Both teams have been favored by 1 point at some point this week. So, safe to say Vegas sees this one going down to the wire. For me, I think Penn State wins it outright. I’m all in on the Lions just on gut feeling. I don’t think Michigan is as good as their record is. More importantly, I don’t think Michigan is as good as the CFP Committee thinks they are, when they ranked Michigan ahead of Michigan State this week, even though the Spartans beat them at home just 2 weeks ago. On the other hand, a win gives the Nittany Lions a sigh of relief and allows them to play better than they showed in the month of October. Penn State wins their 3rd straight meeting against Michigan.
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Cory Lestochi (6-3)
Michigan week is here. While perhaps anticlimactic given Penn State’s unranked status, the game this weekend is a pivotal one for both programs. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh desperately needs an impressive win for his resume, while Penn State is looking to stay right side up after snapping a three-game losing streak last week.
Michigan’s offense is boasted by two running backs and a relatively decent passing game. They would prefer to run it every play, but have shown the ability to spread the ball around more than previous Michigan teams.
On defense, they have gotten rid of the strict press man coverage and play a diverse set of zone defenses with multiple looks. Their defensive line is a stout group upfront.
I think this Penn State offense will benefit from playing this defensive scheme more than previous Michigan defenses because of the outside matchups. If Sean Clifford continues to get healthier and finds his rhythm he could have success against the zone. The question will be whether or not they can find enough rushing attack to keep this defense honest. A defense that has forced more fumbles than interceptions.
The Penn State defense, although one of the best at preventing red zone scores, has given up a lot of yards this year. The good news is Michigan is one of the worst offenses at converting in the red zone. That will heavily depend on how well the Nittany Lions can stop the run on Saturday.
Seems like whoever is the home team typically wins in this series (excuse 2020) and I don’t see that changing this week. There is a reason Vegas likes the Lions and I see them getting the job done.
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