It’s the start of a Big Ten East play with the Nittany Lions needing to jumpstart the season and the Wolverines having to take advantage of the home game. Check out the Michigan vs. Penn State fearless prediction and game preview.
Michigan (3-0) vs. Penn State (2-1) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 24th
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Why Penn State Will Win
Did Colorado figure it out last week?
The Buff defense was able to bother the Michigan backfield early on, came up with a few scoring drives early, and took advantage of a sleepy start by the Wolverines to crank up a big lead.
Colorado QB Sefo Liufau got hurt, Michigan roared back, Jabrill Peppers was Jabrill Peppers, and all was right with the world. Before that, Colorado was able to get behind the Wolverine line – the Buffs don’t have a devastating pass rush – and the Michigan offense wasn’t sharp.
The Nittany Lion defense has to sell out a bit. It’s not the rock it was last year, and it’s not making things happen behind the line, but this week, it’ll have to throw everything at Wilton Speight and make him uncomfortable. When he’s getting time to operate, he’s been fantastic.
On the other side, Penn State has just enough pop at the key spots to potentially keep up the pace, with Trace McSorley turning into the playmaking quarterback Christian Hackenberg wasn’t, Saquon Barkley the best back in this game, and Chris Godwin leading a suddenly dangerous receiving corps.
This isn’t your 2015 Penn State team – there’s pop, and it should be able to bomb away and keep up the pace.
Why Michigan Will Win
This isn’t the 2015 Penn State defense.
It’s not getting into the backfield, it’s not coming up with the big stops against the run, and it’s giving up a few too many long marches.
Yeah, the offense has been better. The O line has improved in a huge way from last year, but this still isn’t the type of attack that can grind out drives and take over the momentum to help out the defense.
The running game is way too spotty, getting a third down conversion is like pulling teeth, and when McSorley isn’t making the big throws down the field, the offense bogs down.
And that’s the problem. Michigan’s defense is No. 1 in the nation in third down conversions allowed, giving up an absolutely ridiculous 4-of-38 tries. Thanks to Peppers and the defensive front seven showing an uncanny ability to dial up the intensity at the right time, offenses are never able to get into any sort of a groove.
So the formula is simple – don’t give up the big pass, let the defense key on Barkley on first downs, and don’t give up a slew of turnovers.
What’s Going To Happen?
Penn State owned the series for a little while with four straight wins, but Michigan has taken it back with two straight. Make it three.
McSorley will chuck and chuck and chuck some more, but Barkley won’t go anywhere, the Michigan secondary will win its share of battles, and it’ll be yet another impressive all-around performance by the Wolverines.
Expect a better full sixty minutes out of Michigan, unlike last week. It’ll be stronger from the start.
Michigan vs. Penn State Prediction
Final Score: Michigan 41, Penn State 20
Line: Michigan -18.5, o/u: 58.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Xmas in September – 1: Get out now … 3
Must See Rating: 5: The Magnificent Seven – 1: The Voice … 3.5