Breaking down Michigan vs. Penn State – Prediction included

Much of the talk this week has been about whether or not the University of Michigan and its fans would be actively rooting for Ohio State to beat Michigan State. In fact, there has been very little talk about how the Wolverines have to handle their business in Happy Valley against Penn State for the MSU vs. OSU game to really matter to them.

That being said, let’s break down the game between Michigan and Penn State. Will the Wolverines keep their dream of a Big Ten championship alive or will the Nittany Lions be the spoiler?

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OFFENSE

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There is no question about it that the Michigan offense has left much to be desired at times this season. That being said, Wolverines quarterback Jake Rudock has really started to play well and he is really starting to look comfortable. In addition to Rudock, the Wolverines have weapons on the offensive side of the ball that will have to step up if they want to win at Penn State. Jehu Chesson is coming off a huge game and looks to continue that against the Nittany Lions defense.

Penn State’s offense is led by highly touted quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Unfortunately for the junior signal-caller, his weapons on offense are few and far between. If Penn State wants to have any chance to put up enough points to win this game, they will have to figure out a way to beat the Wolverines secondary led by Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers. I just cannot see that happening.

Advantage: MICHIGAN

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DEFENSE

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Though Michigan looked extremely beatable last Saturday against Indiana, they are ranked #2 in the nation in total defense for good reason. There is no question about it that Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers will have a huge advantage over the Penn State receivers so it will come down to whether or not the Nittany Lions can run the ball like Indiana did. Unfortunately for Penn State, running the ball is not a strength for them and Michigan should dominate.

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Penn State also has a solid defense, in fact, they come ranked #11 in the country in total defense with their strength coming against the pass. Though the Nittany Lions secondary has played well, they have yet to face the weapons that the Michigan offense will bring to the table.

Advantage: MICHIGAN

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SPECIAL TEAMS

Jabril Peppers

Michigan’s senior kicker Kenny Allen has been solid this season as he has connected on 14 out of 18 field-goal attempts. If it’s a close game, Allen may have to come up big in the clutch for the Wolverines. In addition, Michigan has Jabrill Peppers and if Penn State makes the mistake of punting to him, Peppers could make their day miserable.

Penn State’s freshman kicker Joey Julius has made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts this season and if the Nittany Lions can keep it close it could come down to the kicking game. In the return game, Penn State does not really have anyone to be scared about like the Wolverines have with Peppers.

Advantage: Michigan

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COACHING

Harbaugh

Let’s not waste anyone’s time here. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is a top candidate for national coach of the year and is without a doubt one of the best coaches at any level. Penn State’s James Franklin is also a good coach but is not even close to the level of Harbaugh.

Advantage: MICHIGAN

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PREDICTION

Michigan Football

The only reason Michigan fans should be nervous about this game is that it is being played in Happy Valley. There is no question in my mind the Nittany Lions will come out fired up, but if the Wolverines can weather the storm then talent will prevail.

Michigan 27  Penn State 17

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