Friday, October 11, 2013

Penn State Preview

Time: 5:00 EST
Location: Happy Valley
Weather:  Mid 50's & Misty
Line: Michigan -2.5

Let's face it, neither team plays well on the road.  I can't remember when Michigan last played a really good "complete" road game.   Maybe the Denard running wild game at Notre Dame?  But if I remember correctly, the defense didn't play very well that day.   I would have to guess a Big Ten game the last year of the Lloyd Carr Era maybe?

Michigan has only been on the road once this year and almost lost to a terrible UConn team that fired it's head coach a week later.   Penn State has been on the road once and lost to Indiana last week for the first time ever.  The Nittany Lions also dropped another home game to UCF two weeks before their trip to Bloomington. 

So this is a match-up between a 5-0 team that feels like they lost two games vs. a team that is 3-2 and really did lose two games.  I'm sure Bill O'Brien is happy this game is in State College and not at the Big House. 

Tale of the Tape

Pro (GMat) vs. Pro (BB) = Advantage GMat

Wolverines in White vs. Lions in Blue =  Blue

The Count vs. Allen Robinson = Robinson and his +5 inches

Good Devin vs. Lions D = Michigan Offense

A healthy blitzing Ryan vs. Hackenberg = Wreck It Ryan

DaQuan Jones vs. Michigan O Line = TBD

Christian Hackenberg dropped back to pass 55 times last week and completed 30 of those throws.   He isn't exactly Mike Vick back there and getting consistent pressure on him will be key.   I don't believe the Michigan D Line has proven they can pressure the QB with only 4 rushers.   So look for the SAM (hopefully a healthy Ryan) will get to know Mr. Hackenberg personally.    With a pass heavy offense, the Michigan secondary will get tested early and often.    I have a feeling we might see an ND game approach (deep safeties) from GMat so not to give up a big play. 

Devin can't turn the ball over if Michigan is going to win this game.   They just won't be able to get away with it this time.  A team is very dangerous after a loss and Penn State will try to right the wrong of the IU loss with a win over Michigan at home. 

Sing Hail to the Victors if.......................
  • Devin stays clean and plays well
  • Fitz finds a ton of holes and makes play action effective
  • The Michigan D - gets pressure and plays tight coverage
  • The "new" Michigan OLine continues to improve
  • Gallon and Funchess have big days catching the ball

Hate the Valley if..........................
  • Michigan continues to be a different team on the road
  • No pressure = The Freshman picking apart the Michigan secondary
  • Play action kills the Michigan D and they give up big runs
  • Devin reverts to AkConn turnovers

Michigan has much more talent and the reason they're the favorite in Happy Valley.   If this game was in the Big House, the line would probably be above two touchdowns.   Here's the problem, Billy O'Brien is a pretty freaking good coach (he coached Tom Brady for goodness sakes) and has recruited talent to his program. With the loss of scholarships they have like 40 walk-on's, so depth is a major issue.   There are a lot of things I don't like about this game:  I hate the start time, sounds like it's going to be rainy and wet, its on the road, and Penn State is coming off a bad loss last week. 

All the previews, I have read has Michigan winning by a field goal.   I don't see it that way.   I believe the game could get away from Penn State and Michigan could win comfortably or PSU will play inspired football and win the game.   I do think Hackenberg will play well in spurts and terrible in spurts, giving Michigan great field position or even an easy score.   It has to be clear to everyone, which QB is the true freshman and which one is a 4th year junior.   I would feel much more comfortable if Michigan played well against a terrible UConn team.   My head tells me Michigan might lose this game, by heart tells my head to shut the hell up! 

Michigan 31 Penn State 20

Go Blue!

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