Sep 21, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions safety Ryan Keiser (23) is congratulated by safety Malcolm Willis (1) after intercepting a pass against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State vs. Michigan Prediction Roundtable

Penn State versus Michigan.  Just saying (or in this case, typing) that sounds big.  I love the fact Bill O’Brien isn’t playing the “just another game” card.  It’s a big one, and should be treated as such.  After going undefeated against the Lions from 1997 to 2007, the Wolverines are winless against PSU in 3 games since 2008.  None of those have been particularly close, however.  This is O’Brien’s first ever meeting with Michigan as well as Brady Hoke’s first ever game as the head coach of the Wolverines against PSU.  Here’s what the VBR Staff expects this weekend

Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)

Between the Indiana loss, homecoming,  a late kick, and oh, a pretty enticing opponent, I would expect a fired up team (and crowd) Saturday evening.  This game was always going to be a challenge for PSU, facing a tough defense with a freshman QB, on top of a dual threat signal caller in Devin Gardner on the other side.  I expect a better all around defensive performance, both because of the motivation off a loss, as well as the matchup with the Michigan offense.  To put it simply, the PSU D matches up much better with the Michigan offense than it does with Indiana.

That defense will put up an admirable performance, but the lack of dept on the line, and especially at linebacker, will likely catch up with them late in the game against a powerful Michigan rushing game.  It’s a close, physical, Big 10 game, but Michigan pulls it out 27-23.

Co-Editor Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)

Coming off a disappointing loss at Indiana, the Nittany Lions will look to rebound this week. Unfortunately, the Michigan Wolverines won’t present an easy task. Michigan is 5-0 and ranked 19th in the country entering this one. The Michigan offense has shown flashes of greatness this season and an ability to rack up yards and points. Quarterback Devin Gardner has the ability to both run and throw the ball and has several playmakers around him.
The Penn State defense is going to be the key in this one. After getting torched for 44 points last week, the unit will be looking for a better performance this week. However, I think that’s going to be a tall order for the Nittany Lions. If the defense is unable to put pressure on Gardner, then he’ll be free to make plays.
On offense, Christian Hackenberg has continued to grow and develop. He was forced to throw the ball a ton last week and racked up 340 yards and three touchdowns. The running game, which had been solid, only produced 70 yards against the Hoosiers. If Penn State falls behind early again in this one, expect to see more of the passing attack.
The Beaver Stadium crowd will help a bit, especially at the beginning, but I do see the Nittany Lions being on the wrong end of the score. This could be a tight, Big Ten game for a while, but Michigan wins it 37-23 when it’s all said and done.

Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)

The Penn State defense is the key in this game. Devin Gardner, Fitz Toussaint, Jeremy Gallon, Devin Funchess and the Michigan offense are very dangerous. They’ll have a field day if Penn State’s defense plays like it did against Indiana. As for the Nittany Lion offense, I think they can score some points, but it won’t be easy. They’ll need to get the running game back on track and Hackenberg can’t air it out 50+ times. Michigan has some great players on defense and their secondary is experienced and talented. Also, the Wolverines will most likely get linebacker Jake Ryan back from injury, and he’s arguably their best defensive player. That should give them an emotional boost as well as a boost on the field. The whitehouse night game atmosphere is awesome, but it hasn’t necessarily resulted in many Penn State wins recently.

Score: Penn State 17 Michigan 31


Tags: Football Michigan Wolverines Penn State Nittany Lions

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