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)
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