OUtside of Michigan, it remains unclear which teams are actually good in the Big Ten. Penn State has looked decent at times, but is lacking consistency and will need to be consistent in order to steal a Game in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines opened as -10 point home favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
It’s hard to put anything into last year’s matchup because that was a much different time when Michigan didn’t have a quarterback. Penn State got out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back in a 42-13 home win. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Scorewere flipped in this meeting. The Nittany Lions just took down Iowa, but they also lost to Michigan State, a team that Michigan controlled for the most part on the road.
To have a chance, PSU will need a classic Game out of Trace McSorley, who continues to post mediocre passing numbers. Sure, he’s leading the offense with his legs, but similar to the MSU Game, that probably won’t work against this UM defense. It also doesn’t help that his passing numbers are down across the board with a 52.8% completion rate on 7.05 yards per attempt. Michigan has arguably the best defense in the country, allowing a ridiculous 220 total yards and 14.4 points per Game. When needed, the Wolverines have dominated opposing offenses, giving up 20 total points to Wisconsin and MSU.
Of course, the difference is that McSorley is a legit quarterback and probably the best one that this Michigan defense has faced this season. While he’s not completing passes, he’s still moving the ball with running back Miles Sanders (834 yards, 8 TDs) helping out. Then again, outside of a couple big runs, this team could barely move the ball against the Spartans. Now on the road in the Big House, it’s an even bigger task for the Lions.
The other end is where Penn State has to pick it up because it’s allowing 161 rushing yards per contest and that’s not going to cut it. Michigan may not have an elite offense, but it has everything to overpower opposition with running back Karan Higdon hitting 100 yards in all but the Notre Dame Game. After he went for 144 yards against MSU, it’s hard to see him not having another good Game unless Penn State shows another level to its defense. It’s also difficult for defenses because Shea Patterson is limiting turnovers and has had some big runs the last couple weeks. All that combined with a dominant defense and it’s easy to see why this team is running over opposition. The Nittany Lions not only need a top Game from McSorley against a great defense, but also an improved performance from their defense. If one of those things doesn’t happen, it could be another big win for the home team.
The Nittany Lions are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road Games and 16-6-1 ATS in their last 23 Conference Games. The Wolverines are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home Games, though a surprising 0-6 ATS in their last six following a bye week. The over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these schools and the home team is 5-1 ATS in that period.
Our Pick – Revenge call here…..“We still remember,” Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye told reporters this week, ahead of Saturday’s Game against No. 14 Penn State (3:45 p.m., ESPN). “Fourth quarter, five seconds left in the Game — they had their players in and ran that last play. “We put that in Our back pocket and just remember that every single day.”
Yeah. The Wolverines have been looking forward to this one. We have them winning by 13. But you can be sure if they can extend this margin, they will. Michigan -10.5