Preview: Michigan at Penn State

Preview: Michigan at Penn State

November 10, 2023

Michigan is #52 in rushing offense (167.1 yards/game) after struggling on the ground a little bit against Purdue. They’re #47 in yards per carry (4.57 yards/carry) but #5 in rushing touchdowns (25). Blake Corum (126 carries, 649 yards) leads the country in rushing touchdowns with 16. Donovan Edwards has the lowest rushing average in the conference, though, at 3.14, so it will be interesting to see how much run Kalel Mullings (27 carries, 167 yards, 1 TD) gets. Edwards had an explosive game against the Nittany Lions in 2022, but he hasn’t been playing up to the same level so far this season. Penn State has the #2 rush defense (60.6 yards allowed/game) and their 2.0 yards allowed per carry ranks #2 also. Junior LB Curtis Jacobs (6’1″, 235 lbs.) leads the team with 36 tackles, followed closely by sophomore LB Abdul Carter (6’3″, 249) with 34, junior S Jaylen Reed (6’0″, 205) with 32, and junior LB Kobe King (6’1″, 242) with 30. Reed and King are both Detroit products, from MLK and Cass Tech, respectively. Up front is fifth year senior Hakeem Beamon (6’3″, 290) and sophomore Zane Durant (6’1″, 285), both of whom are solid tackles. Overall, the team’s worst performance was week one against WVU when they gave up 146 yards and 2 touchdowns to the Mountaineers. Last week they held Maryland to -49 yards on the ground (including sacks).
Advantage: Penn State

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Michigan is #45 in pass offense (257.1 yards/game) but #2 in pass efficiency behind LSU. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is completing over 75% of his passes for 18 touchdowns and 3 interceptions; last week was an “off” week when he completed 65% of his throws for 335 yards. Overall, he’s been extremely good – all three interceptions came in one abnormal game – and is in the discussion for the Heisman. The #1 target is Roman Wilson (36 catches, 589 yards, 10 TD), but fellow senior Cornelius Johnson (24 catches, 422 yards, 1 TD) and sophomore TE Colston Loveland (27 catches, 419 yards, 4 TD) have both been a big part of the passing game. Edwards (24 catches, 225 yards) had a 37-yard catch on a fade route last week, but he has yet to get in the end zone in the passing game. Michigan is #18 in sacks allowed per game (1.22). Penn State is #2 in sacks per game (4.11), led by senior DE Adisa Issac (6’4″, 249) with 6.5. Junior DE Chop Robinson (6’3″, 254) is a Maryland transfer who has 3 sacks this year, but he has missed the past two games against Indiana and Maryland and could return to the lineup on Saturday. Senior CB Johnny Dixon (6’0″, 196) is used as a blitzer by defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and has 1 sack in each of the past three weeks. Senior nickel Daequan Hardy (5’9″, 178) leads the squad with 2 interceptions, along with backup LB Dominic Deluca, a 6’1″, 218 lb. sophomore. Junior Kalen King (5’11”, 190), twin brother of the aforementioned Kobe King, is PSU’s top corner.
Advantage: Penn State

Michigan is #10 in rush defense (90.1 yards allowed/game) and #13 in yards per carry defense (3.04). No team has rushed for more than 125 yards, which they gave up to Purdue last week. Inside linebacker Junior Colson leads the team with 49 tackles, followed by LB Michael Barrett (33) and LB Ernest Hausmann (30). Defensive end Braiden McGregor (5.5 tackles for loss) and DT Mason Graham (5.0) have both been very good run stoppers. Penn State is #43 nationally in rushing offense (173.2 yards/game) and #79 in yards per carry (4.17). They have been hurt on the ground by the graduation of QB Sean Clifford, because new QB Drew Allar (6’5″, 242) is not much of a runner (53 carries, 100 yards, 3 TD). He can take off on a draw or a scramble and run for a few yards, but Clifford could take it 60 yards and Allar doesn’t have that capability. Backup QB Beau Pribula (6’2″, 203) is more of a runner with 44 carries for 240 yards and 5 TDs. Prior to the season, there was a lot of arguing about the best RB duo in the country coming down to Michigan vs. Penn State, but so far PSU’s Nick Singleton (6’0″, 222) has 121 attempts for 480 yards and 7 TDs and Kaytron Allen (5’11”, 222) has 119 carries for 573 yards and 4 TDs.
Advantage: Michigan

Michigan has the #1 pass defense in the land (141.3 yards allowed/game) with the #2 passing efficiency defense and the #8 defense in yards allowed per pass attempt (5.7). That’s even more impressive considering Michigan doesn’t have an elite pass rusher and they’re relying on a UMass transfer at one cornerback spot. They’re #44 in sacks per game (2.44), led by OLB Josaiah Stewart (4.5 on the season) and OLB Jaylen Harrell (3.5). Early season health issues for CB Will Johnson and S Rod Moore seem to have cleared up somewhat. Penn State is starting a new QB this year in Allar, who has completed 62.8% of his throws for 20 TD and 1 INT. They’re #77 in passing offense (220.8 yards/game) and #101 in yards per attempt (6.5). On the plus side for PSU, Allar’s 1 interception is the lowest total in the country for any team. Junior wideout KeAndre Lambert-Smith (6’1″, 185) is the prime target with 51 catches for 645 yards and 4 touchdowns. The next two most common targets are TE Theo Johnson (6’6″, 260) with 24 catches for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns and TE Tyler Warren (6’6″, 257) with 23 receptions for 216 yards and 6 scores. Penn State allows 1.33 sacks per game, which is tied for #25 nationally.
Advantage: Michigan


  • Penn State players recruited by Michigan include: QB Drew Allar, OL Alex Birchmeier, WR Cristian Driver, DT Dvon Ellies, OL Olu Fashanu, S Mehki Flowers, RB Devyn Ford, CB Daequan Hardy, DE Adisa Isaac, TE Theo Johnson, CB Kalen King, LB Kobe King, RB London Montgomery, DE Joseph Mupoyi, TE Andrew Rappleyea, LB Ta’Mere Robinson, WR Kaden Saunders, OL Landon Tengwall, OL J’ven Williams
  • Penn State players from the State of Michigan include: CB Kalen King (Cass Tech), LB Kobe King (Cass Tech), S Jaylen Reed (Detroit King)
  • Penn State TE Andrew Rappleyea was committed to Michigan at one time


  • On October 15, 2022, Michigan beat Penn State by a score of 41-17
  • RB Donovan Edwards ran 16 times for 173 yards and 2 TDs, including a 67-yarder
  • RB Blake Corum ran 28 times for 166 yards and 2 TDs, including a 61-yarder
  • Penn State QB Sean Clifford completed 7/19 passes for 120 yards and was replaced by Drew Allar, who completed 5/10 throws for 37 yards
  • Altogether, Michigan ran for 418 yards, which was 234 more yards than the next highest total against PSU, which was Utah with 184 yards


  • Michigan 30, Penn State 17

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