That was a win. It wasn’t always pretty – especially on offense – but a win in Happy Valley is always nice. It’s not an easy place to play, and the Nittany Lions are usually pretty good, so you take an ugly win if you can get it. I decided to watch the game sans social media and just enjoy the back-and-forth, because I knew there would be a ton of griping. And nobody’s allowed to gripe but me. So I grumbled at times to myself, but for the most part, I thought Michigan played pretty well.
RUSH OFFENSE vs. PSU RUSH DEFENSE Michigan’s rushing offense has dropped off somewhat dramatically from earlier in the year, which is saying something, since they’re still #6 with 234 yards/game on the ground and #15 in rushing average. Hassan Haskins leads the team in carries (165), yardage (829 yards), and touchdowns (11). He may be relied on more heavily than normal. After a career-high 27 carries last week with Blake Corum missing all but one offensive play, Haskins is the only somewhat experienced back on the roster. I do not expect Corum (who was in a walking boot by the end of the game) to play and freshman Donovan Edwards missed last week due to injury, leaving Haskins and then . . . walk-on Leon Franklin and freshman fifth-stringer Tavierre Dunlap. Penn State is #50 in rush defense (137 yards allowed/game) and #31 in yards per carry allowed (3.56). With starting defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher out for the season, the Nittany Lions’ rushing defense has fallen off; they gave up 357 yards on the ground to Illinois three weeks ago. Things have improved a little over the past couple weeks, but that may be due to playing Maryland, which is pretty inept on the ground. The leading tacklers are senior linebacker Ellis Brooks (6’1″, 241 lbs.) and junior inside linebacker Brandon Smith (6’3″, 241) with 68 and 61 stops, respectively. I think Michigan can pound the ball a little bit, but they need to be careful to keep Haskins fresh. Advantage: Michigan