Preview: Michigan at Penn State

Preview: Michigan at Penn State

October 18, 2019

Michigan is #79 with 156.2 yards per game on the ground, led by Zach Charbonnet’s 376 yards. Backup Hassan Haskins appears to be the hot hand right now after a 125-yard performance last week, but that was his first extended playing time. Michigan offensive guard Michael Onwenu was named to some mid-season All-American lineups, but overall, the offensive line has been a bit of a disappointment. Penn State is #3 in rush defense (53.3 yards allowed/game) and #1 in yards allowed per carry (1.59). The Nittany Lions have only allowed 1 rushing touchdown. Middle linebacker Micah Parsons (6’3″, 245 lbs.) leads the team with 31 tackles and is among the team leaders with 6 tackles for loss.
Advantage: Penn State

Hit the jump for more.

The Wolverines are #73 in passing offense (231.2 yards/game) and passer efficiency rating. Quarterback Shea Patterson has been nothing special with 57.2% completions, 7.7 yards per attempt, 9 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Slot receiver Ronnie Bell leads the team with 20 catches for 361 yards, but Michigan has been very inconsistent with getting the ball to its touted wideouts. Patterson often looks confused and rarely gets the ball out on time. Penn State is #49 in pass defense (205.8 yards allowed/game) but #12 in passer efficiency defense. Defensive ends Yetur Gross-Matos (6’5″, 264) and Shaka Toney (6’3″, 243) each have 5.5 sacks. Cornerback and captain John Reid (5’10”, 181) leads the team with 2 picks, 1 for a touchdown.
Advantage: Penn State

Michigan is #39 in rush defense (122.8 yards allowed/game) and tied for #16 in yards allowed per carry (2.97). Linebackers Khaleke Hudson (58) and Jordan Glasgow (47) lead the team in tackles. The Wolverines have done a good job in recent weeks with clogging up the middle by pinching defensive ends and such, but the ability of their defensive tackles to hold up is still a big question mark. The only established impact player on the interior is nose tackle Carlo Kemp. Penn State is #43 in rushing offense (191.2 yards/game) and #50 in yards per carry (4.76). Running back Noah Cain (5’10”, 206) has two straight 100-yard games, and quarterback Sean Clifford (6’2″, 216) runs the ball just under 10 times per game.
Advantage: Michigan

Michigan is #9 in passing defense (160.5 yards allowed/game) and #20 in passer efficiency rating defense. They have allowed 3 touchdowns while making 5 interceptions so far, including 2 each from cornerbacks Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas. Michigan is #13 in sacks with 21, led by defensive end Kwity Paye and linebacker Joshua Uche (4.5 each), along with linebacker Jordan Glasgow (4.0). Penn State is tied at #42 with 10 sacks allowed. They’re #36 in passing offense (274.2 yards/game) and #18 passer rating, with 14 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions thrown so far. Clifford is averaging 9.8 yards per attempt on 64.2% completions. The Nittany Lions’ top two receivers are both big-play guys with K.J. Hamler (5’9″, 176) making 26 catches for 455 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus Jahan Dotson (5’11”, 175) adding 3 touchdowns on 18.6 yards per catch. Tight end Pat Freiermuth (6’5″, 256) has good overall numbers, but 8 catches for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns came against Buffalo; outside of the game, he has 9 catches for 104 yards and 1 score. The numbers suggest that maybe Michigan has an advantage, but I think Penn State will be able to manipulate the matchups in the secondary to take advantage of the Wolverines.
Advantage: Penn State


  • Penn State players recruited by Michigan include: LB Ellis Brooks, RB Noah Cain, DT Judge Culpepper, LB Lance Dixon, WR Jahan Dotson, WR John Dunmore, DT D’von Ellies, RB Devyn Ford, OL Will Fries, WR K.J. Hamler, DT Fred Hansard, DT Adisa Isaac, S C.J. Holmes, CB Donovan Johnson, QB Michael Johnson Jr., DE Daniel Joseph, TE Zack Kuntz, OL Michael Menet, DT P.J. Mustipher, DE Jayson Oweh, LB Micah Parsons, CB John Reid, WR Justin Shorter, RB Ricky Slade, LB Brandon Smith, S Jonathan Sutherland, S Garrett Taylor
  • Penn State S Garrett Taylor was committed to Michigan at one time
  • Penn State players from the State of Michigan include: LB Lance Dixon (West Bloomfield), WR K.J. Hamler (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s), CB Donovan Johnson (Cass Tech)
  • Penn State CB Joey Porter, Jr. is the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers LB Joey Porter
  • Michigan players from the State of Pennsylvania include: OL Kraig Correll, LB Khaleke Hudson, DT Donovan Jeter, WR Jack Young


  • Michigan beat Penn State by a score of 42-7 in 2018
  • Michigan ran for 259 yards, including 132 from Karan Higdon
  • Brandon Watson returned an interception 62 yards for a TD
  • Penn State QB Trace McSorley was 5/13 for 83 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT and was held to -6 yards on 12 rushing attempts


  • Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey both play and look bad
  • Michigan fumbles 2 more times
  • Penn State 24, Michigan 14


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 29
    Joined: 9/24/2017
    Oct 18, 2019 at 7:29 AM

    Sounds about right. Still waiting for a Harbaugh-led Michigan team to win a game it was not expected to win. And waiting, and waiting. Maybe this Saturday night?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1758
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Oct 18, 2019 at 8:11 AM

      It’s been five years – we’re overdue!

      Watching the Iowa game last week, their best play was the famed “arm-punt.” I don’t care for that as a strategy, but “Shea has been nothing special,” and our WRs are capable of winning those tossups; I’d like to see 1 per quarter, or at least 3 in the game

      I still don’t think PennSt is all that great, with an offense that looks about as scary as our 2018 version. If we protect the ball and play to win, I think our chances move up toward 50-50

      Likely though, we’ll see more of the same: a lack of organization & preparedness, followed by a key mistake or two


  2. GKblue
    Comments: 344
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 18, 2019 at 8:33 AM

    JE – “Likely though, we’ll see more of the same: a lack of organization & preparedness, followed by a key mistake or two”

    I don’t even know how to confidently predict the outcome of this game. First, I genuinely appreciate guys that can follow multiple schools/games and be able to assimilate and compare programs and make intelligent prognostics.
    Secondly, I painfully agree with JE’s above quote and admit to becoming somewhat negative in my expectations. We have a tough row to hoe.

    On the other hand I am a long time fan and reasonably football intelligent. And I have hope we rise and play with real aggression and purpose, hang on to the ball, cover a few inside slants and hope JH doesn’t step on his richard.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 390
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Oct 18, 2019 at 9:34 AM

    Probably NOT the locale, environmental scene or defense in which to reintroduce MaCaff back to the game of football (but Madison & Goal line wasn’t a good time either to reintroduce Mason to Fullback) AHhhhh but Michigan’s Coaches……….

    And 2 MORE! Fumbles? But Thunder, do they lose them both he asks sarcastically – inquiring minds want to know!
    And if both Michigan qb’s ‘look bad’ can one assume missing open receivers along with an int or 2? These things usually go along with a qb looking bad.

    IF Michigan plays a pretty much flawless game, they lose by 3 or less.
    BUT since we have no reason they can play that well AND
    Since past experience holds true till proven otherwise and the most recent best parallel to this game was a few weeks ago in Wisconsin; till Michigan proves they can actually NOT turn the ball over, commit stupid penalties, qb’s throw to open receivers rather than into double coverage……..oh and Harbaugh win against a highly ranked team on the road?
    This game will likely turn into a PSU blowout………
    Aint sayin, jus sayin………….INTJohn

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 110
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    Oct 18, 2019 at 9:38 AM

    If the game was at UM, what would your prediction be?

    Also……why don’t we have any D tackles yet in this recruiting class?

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1758
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Oct 18, 2019 at 10:43 AM

      I think we lose by 10, at least

      I think Don Brown should do a bit better this time (no Trace, Saquan, Hamilton)

      I think Shea and Junior WRs should be better than JOK and Freshmen WRs

      I think we lose by 10, but things can always get out of hand. I hope we’re not as bad as it has looked, and we can keep it as close as 10

      I have my doubts, but remain hopeful. Please Coach Harbaugh, prove doubters wrong!

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 24
    Joined: 9/25/2019
    Oct 18, 2019 at 10:30 AM

    I fully expect to switch from Vodka to Testors Glue this weekend.

    One of my best friends is a PSU fan, I congratulated him on the win after last week’s game.

    I’ve seen nothing to suggest that any of the failings can be turned around. I’ll happily be proven wrong of course, but I think this article nails the challenge this weekend, and for the most part the rest of the year.

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 390
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Oct 18, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    Like against Wisconsin, Michigan needs to explode out early and try to temper the crowd and PSU’s 1st quarter emotion. Michigan tried to do this against Wisky by throwing deep to answer Wisky’s initial score and it looked as if it would succeed with a 3 play drive & 1st & goal but then Michigan turned the ball over.

    I look for a similar approach by the Wolverines in this game – try to explode out early. IF they don’t turn the ball over they can maybe keep this close but if they don’t charge out early. I think it turns into a Badger ditto………

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 5814
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 18, 2019 at 7:13 PM

    Not feeling particularly optimistic but Opportunity Knocks. Go Blue!

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1758
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Oct 18, 2019 at 8:09 PM

      Exactly Lank! These 4 tough ones are about opportunity – seize the dang opportunity!!!

      GO BLUE

  8. Avatar
    Comments: 35
    Joined: 11/17/2015
    Oct 18, 2019 at 8:04 PM

    I think UM keeps it close for a while but PSU pulls away in the second half . Maybe keeps it close into the 4th quarter but PSU pulls away at some point and wins by double digits.

  9. NMU
    Comments: 1
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Oct 19, 2019 at 4:38 AM

    After watching Jeter get destroyed by Illinois when we trotted him out, can we finally admit that blooding Hinton is better for the program?

  10. Avatar
    Comments: 1758
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Oct 19, 2019 at 8:51 PM

    I can’t believe we would make this competitive. 7-5 may have been too optimistic

  11. Avatar
    Comments: 390
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Oct 19, 2019 at 9:40 PM

    Good news is Astros are up 3-1 top of the 4th……..Yankees comin to bat.

  12. Avatar
    Comments: 390
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Oct 19, 2019 at 10:18 PM

    Only 1 score, only 1 play……….
    Defense gotta shut em down and maybe the offense can score 1 more.
    4th qwarter

  13. Avatar
    Comments: 1758
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Oct 19, 2019 at 11:10 PM

    Our WRs blew it. We almost had it. We played well

  14. Avatar
    Comments: 390
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Oct 19, 2019 at 11:21 PM

    Givin em credit……………
    They didn’t quit & looked like a team & no fumbles.
    Thier first quarter jitters did em in; again it didn’t appear that the coaches had them ready at the kickoff.
    The players didn’t quit tho and toughed it out – outplayed PSU in the 2nd half.

    Coaches gotta get these guys to play 4 quarters. If they play the rest of the season like they did in the 2nd half, they beat MSU and maybe ND.
    It was an exciting game to watch even tho a loss – it wasn’t an embarrassment. They played hard, tough & didn’t quit – all ya can ask.

  15. GrandLake
    Comments: 92
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    Oct 19, 2019 at 11:24 PM

    Can’t put that one on Shea. Gives me hope that they beat ND next week.
    And maybe Illinois isn’t that bad.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1758
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Oct 20, 2019 at 12:40 AM

      Shea was fine. OL was fine. RB was fine. TEs were OK

      Nico was fine, Black isn’t. DPJ has got to be hurt. Ronnie… the moment was just too big

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3503
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Oct 20, 2019 at 11:12 AM

        DPJ’s leg was hurt. That shouldn’t affect his hands. He had at least two drops.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1758
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          Oct 20, 2019 at 12:24 PM

          Yeah, but he’s slow now. DPJ has got to be hurt to have lost all speed, quickness and explosion. He’s no more than a possession guy now. A possession guy who can’t catch consistently

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