Penn State at Michigan Prediction Roundtable


After taking a week off, the VBR staff returns today for another exciting edition of Penn State predictions. The Nittany Lions, with a current record of 4-1 (1-1 Big Ten), hit the road to take on the Wolverines of Michigan. The Wolverines are 2-4 on the year and have lost both conference games.

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We here at VBR had a pathetic attempt at this the last time out. We all predicted a seemingly easy victory over the Northwestern Wildcats. Of course, that didn’t happen and we all ended up looking foolish. Here’s to better luck this week.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr.

Penn State heads to Ann Arbor this week on the heels of a bye week that came after an extremely disappointing Homecoming defeat. Lucky for Penn State, Michigan is in the middle of some huge struggles and currently has a three-game losing streak.

This may sound like a broken record, but the Nittany Lions have to be able to run the football. Otherwise, Michigan’s tough defense will be able to tee off on quarterback Christian Hackenberg. I’m not expecting this one to be very high-scoring, as both offenses have issues. I think this will be a one-score victory by whoever comes out on top. Both offenses has struggled, while the defenses have been solid.

Although it needs to happen, I’m not expecting much from the ground game, but I do expect Hackenberg to right the ship and have a good performance. I think Michigan will be hurt by the absence of� running back Derrick Green and quarterback Devin Gardner will make a few costly mistakes.

I’ll take Penn State in a tight one, 20-17.

Staff Writer Corey Hunter

Penn State returns to action this week fresh off their bye as they travel to Ann Arbor to battle the Michigan Wolverines.� Michigan is coming off another defeat, its their third in a row and fourth overall. The Nittany Lions are also coming off a loss at the hands of Northwestern.

Both teams have significant problems�on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.� For Michigan, their problems start at the quarterback position.� Both Garnder and Morris have had issues as well as physical ailments.� On defense, Michigan is allowing nearly 23 points per game.� In their four losses, Michigan has allowed 28.3 points per game compared to their two wins where they have allowed just 12.0 points per game.

As for Penn State, the offensive line was exposed against the Wildcats.��The youth and inexperience finally caught up with the Nittany Lions.� No doubt teams will look to exploit that part of their game in future weeks.� Luckily for Penn State, they had a bye�last week, and then have another�bye�after facing Michigan.� Coach Hand will no doubt have his young Lions ready to meet the challenge the Wolverine defense presents.

Prior to the start of the season, Michigan wanted to have fireworks at the end of the Penn State�game.�The fireworks plan was ultimately nixed, but there will plenty of fireworks from the fans if Michigan coach Brady Hoke loses another game, especially to Penn State – in what would be his�second-consecutive loss to the Lions.� Many are already calling for his job, another embarrassing home loss might just seal his fate.

Penn State still has many unanswered questions on both sides of the ball.� They possess some good young talent, but have yet to put together a complete game on both sides of the ball.� I don’t see that game coming on Saturday night either.� This game has the all the makings of barn burner that could very well come down to the kickers.� Penn State should have the upper hand in that category, but I think Michigan will sneak out a 24-23 win over Penn State.� Too many factors tell me this as a “circle the wagons” kind of game for Michigan.� If they can’t get pumped about a night game against a team like Penn State, a long year in Ann Arbor will get even longer.

Staff Writer Eric Sion

Before the season started, I was fairly confident that Michigan would win this game. Devin Gardner is better than his stats, I thought Derrick Green was going to have a breakout year and the Wolverine defense has solid players at all three levels. Plus, this is the first Big Ten night game in Michigan Stadium, so you know the crowd is going to be jacked up. Now with all that has gone on at Michigan the last few weeks with Brady Hoke and Dave Brandon, combined with the fact that they just haven’t played good football, I have some hope that Penn State could win. But it’s the same story as always: the offensive line needs to hold up to give the Nittany Lions a chance. I think the bye week and listening to all the criticism will benefit the offensive line, as well as the whole team in general.

I’ll take Penn State over Michigan, 20-17.

Staff Writer Jeff Jezewski

This game is quite possibly the most difficult game to predict this season. With Michigan reeling and Penn State coming off a bye week, neither team has momentum heading into Saturday night’s matchup. Under normal circumstances, I’d probably choose Penn State to win based on Michigan’s current state, but with a big night game in the Big House, I expect Michigan to play a little better than they have recently. That being said, if Penn State’s offensive line can give Christian Hackenberg enough time to throw and develop any sort of run game, they should have a chance.

Michigan comes into the game with the Big Ten’s lowest scoring offense, while Penn State’s defense has been stellar. If the pass rush can pressure Devin Gardner and keep him from beating them with his legs, the defense should be able to keep the Michigan offense in check. The only true matchup concern is Michigan WR Devin Funchess. Funchess had a big day against Penn State last year as a tight end. Moving outside to wide receiver has caused problems for cornerbacks.

I may be optimistic, but I’ll go Penn State 24 Michigan 14.

Staff Writer Ryan Lance

The Nittany Lions return to the field this weekend after a much needed bye week as they head to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines. Although the Nittany Lions are sitting at 4-1, they are coming off a tough loss at home to Northwestern. They will take on a Michigan team that has struggled all season long as they are currently 2-4 and coming off a road loss to Rutgers 26-24.

Penn State has struggled in a few phases of the game all season long and they made some of those areas their focal point during the last two weeks of practice. During the Northwestern game, Penn State struggled to get the running game going and the offensive line struggled to stop the pressure from the Wildcats. This resulted in four sacks and two turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Heading into this weekend’s matchup with Michigan, the Penn State offensive line will have to improve upon its play from the first few games of the season. Quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, has felt the pressure all season long and it’s disrupted his timing and mechanics. Getting the running game going again will also be an important task for Penn State. It hasn’t been great all season, but they must not abandon the run game, as it’ll keep the defense honest and helps them from dropping 7 players into pass coverage. I also think the coaches have to do a better job with play calling by running some quick hitting routes such as slants and crossing routes to free up the wide receivers and get the ball out of Hackenberg’s hands quicker.

This is the teams first test on how they rebound after a tough loss. I’m anxious to see how the coaching staff responds and what kind of changes they put into place. I think this game is going to be a tight, low scoring affair. I think the Nittany Lions secondary is going to have some issues with covering Michigan’s top receiver in Devin Funchees but they must key on not letting Devin Gardner beat them with his feet.

Unfortunately, until the offensive line proves me wrong, I think the Penn State offense will again struggle with the pressure that Michigan will throw at them. Because of this, and it pains me to do this, but I have to take the Wolverines 20-17.