TBHR Roundtable: Michigan vs. Penn State

Posted on Posted in Michigan Football, TBHR Roundtable
Preview: Michigan vs. Penn State
The Big House Report (TBHR) staff makes game predictions for Michigan vs. Penn State:
Derek Devine – @DerekWDevine
Michigan 41, Penn State 13

The scoring has to slow down for Michigan eventually, right? Naaahhh. The Wolverines will put up 40 once again as they take care of Penn State without any problem. I think it’s safe to say the team isn’t happy with how they played in first half a week ago. I expect a well executed game all-around, and I think Michigan gets up early and keeps the foot on the pedal until the fourth quarter. James Franklin is weak, and so is his team. Also, Jabrill Peppers is NOT overrated, so shut your mouth huskerhillbilly.

I think the offense opens up even further this week. It looked like it might last week, until the Wolverines were 14 points in the hole. Peppers will get more offensive snaps, Wilton Speight will snap out of whatever bug he had against the Buffs, Chris Evans will have a big carry and Jourdan Lewis will finally make an impact.

The fun starts next week. One more easy win for the Maize & Blue.


Kate Elizabeth Queram – @KateElizabethNR
Michigan 42, Penn State 9
Penn State’s mascot looks like a raggedy old teddy bear that’s been trotted around to family reunions by every child in your family for the last 80 years. Against the advice of basically everyone, they devoted time during their game last week to honor Joe Paterno, the man whose statue they removed after it became clear he was more than a bumbling, innocent bystander in the worst thing to happen to college athletics since ever. I met my husband in the comments section of ESPN’s Big Ten blog, where the most annoying person I interacted with over a two-year period was not the Michigan State troll or the Ohio State fan, but a self-important Penn State alum who blamed the fallout from that entire scandal on NCAA President Mark Emmert. I say all of this to make it clear: I don’t like Penn State. But you don’t need that bias to understand that their football team is not good. I think Michigan wins this one and I think they win it easily. Sorry, James Franklin. (But not really.)
Von Lozon – @Von_Lozon
Michigan 38, Penn State 20

Michigan faltered for most of the first half against Colorado last Saturday, so I don’t expect a whole lot of that against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have had some rough games; a nail-biting loss at Pittsburgh and a 7-point victory against Temple. Christian Hackenberg went to the NFL, but one thing on Penn State that never left is its horrific offensive line. And with the fact that Michigan’s front seven have been dominant this season, including freshman phenom Rashan Gary, every quarterback for the Nittany Lions may die this weekend (God bless their souls).

As for Michigan, expect the passing game to be on point. The receivers have been vocal about how they have to step up and make big plays for Wilton Speight, and I think they will do just that. As long as the team keeps doing its thing, Penn State shouldn’t be a huge problem. I expect Penn State to start fast, but slowly fade away in the second half.

David Mormino – @BookOfMormino
Michigan 37, Penn State 21

Penn State comes to town, fresh off of a victory over Temple. Saturday marks the start of Big Ten conference games, and Michigan embarks on its journey to capture their first Big Ten title since 2004.

James Franklin reminds me a lot of that guy you knew from high school, who tells you, “dude, I’ve slept with every girl in that grade,” but you know damn well he kisses his mirror at night. A lot of this reflects his football coaching ability, if I’m being honest. Talks a huge game, negatively recruits and gets beat by Northwestern.

Franklin has had some nice pieces in his playset for a few years now, and the results just aren’t there. After losing their season opener to Temple last season, they rallied off five straight wins—that’s impressive.. Kind of. Beating Rutgers, Army, Buffalo, and San Diego State is nice, but when matched against the conference “elite,” he didn’t win a single game against Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State. More of the same on Saturday, folks.

Wilton Speight is hurting, which may be a cause for concern, but Michigan has elite talent on their offense to win this game comfortably. The usual stars, Jake Butt, Jehu Chesson and Amarah Darboh will be ready to rock-and-roll come Saturday. But I don’t think they’re the reason this team wins.

This Michigan defense is so much fun to watch, and starting middle linebacker Mike McCray will have a lot to do with the success of the team on Saturday. Michigan has been vulnerable to passes and runs in the middle of the field, something that needs to be cleaned up if this team wants to compete for anything in the Big Ten. McCray is the guy I’m going to be focusing on during this game, especially when the defense is needed most. Normally, it’s the skill positions, chicks dig the long ball, but this team will play as good as McCray will. I think the finally-healthy-senior is going to wreak havoc on Penn State’s team, one way or another.

Kullen Logsdon – @kullen_logsdon
Michigan 35, Penn State 10

Michigan is coming off its toughest challenge of the young season, but perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. Michigan rallied from a 21-7 deficit to win a 45-28 shootout against Colorado. The comeback will forever be remembered as the “Jabrill Peppers game” after the do-it-all player tallied almost 200 all-purpose yards, a punt return touchdown and reeked havoc in Colorado’s backfield.

Michigan now turns its attention to a Penn State team riddled with injuries and not much depth. The Wolverines beat Penn State in Happy Valley pretty easily last year and should crush them at the Big House on Saturday. The talent differential has perhaps never been larger in the rivalry and you can guarantee Harbaugh has his players fired up after last week.

I expect Wilton Speight to throw for two touchdowns and Deveon Smith to add two on the ground. Peppers and the boys on defense will contain running back Saquon Barkley and make life miserable for quarterback Trace McSorley. This one will be over before the end of the third quarter.

Craig Compton – @CraigCompton_
Michigan 38, Penn State 6
Another week…another Michigan game to predict. To me, this one seems a little bit easier than Hawaii, UCF or Colorado. It could be the fact that unlike the prior three weeks, this week features a team we have seen play a significant amount of football this year. Or, it could be as simple as…Penn State is a B1G team, so we see them a lot, and know what they are bringing.
With that being said, I think a lot will be the same for this year’s Penn State team, as it was a year ago. They have good receivers, a decent defense and a great running back. They do however, have a new quarterback in Trace McSorley. McSorley appeared in a few games last year, including Penn State’s bowl game where he was unable to lead the Nittany Lions to a victory. I also think Penn State’s offensive line is going to struggle again this year.
If you learned anything during the Brady Hoke era, it’s that an offense can’t be very good without a great offensive line. In my opinion, the unit makes the entire offense go. I think Penn State is going to struggle mightily this weekend, and the Michigan pass rush will be too much. I’m looking forward to a BIG game from Peppers, Wormley and Gary. I think Michigan scores a defensive touchdown (possibly even Jourdan Lewis), and then do whatever they want on the offensive side. Go Blue!
Chad Finley – @FinFive1
Michigan 48, Penn State 17

Michigan has eclipsed the 45 point mark in each of its first three games and there is no reason they can’t do the same on Saturday. The Penn State defense could be missing all three starting linebackers and a safety due to injuries, so the Wolverine should exploit the backups that will be playing. The Nittany Lions gave up a ton of rushing yards two weeks ago. Last week they stopped the run but gave up more passing yards. Depending on its defensive strategy against the Michigan offense, we could see the UM running backs have big numbers or quarterback Wilton Speight throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. Look for tight end Jake Butt to have another great game. He has come up huge for Speight when they needed a first down or a big play.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley will be the player to watch for the Wolverine defensive front. I can see him getting less than 80 yards because of how dominant the defensive line and linebackers have been. Then the PSU coaches have to be aware of what position Jabrill Peppers lines up at, because he will cause problems at linebacker, blitzing off the end, stepping back in coverage or as good as he is, Peppers could make a tackle by just yelling at a player from the sideline. He will also do some damage this week in the return game. The Nittany Lions have given up quite a few kickoff and punt return yards already this season to less talented players than Peppers.

Hopefully the Michigan offense gets off to a better start than last week. The fact is, once they do get rolling, nobody has been able to stop Speight and company. Penn St better score early if they want a chance to keep it close. I see this game being over by the end of third quarter and No. 4 Michigan steam rolling to 4-0!

Patrick Connors – @TheRealPConnors
Michigan 24, Penn State 9

We finally made it to conference play. First up, Penn State. If you’re like me and you love watching line play, you are SALIVATING at the thought of Michigan’s front four against the Penn State offensive line. This is a matchup Michigan better win overwhelmingly. If not, Saquon Barkley will eat us alive. It’s really that simple, dominate up front and Michigan will shut Penn State out. I think we will finally see Jourdan Lewis play this week and I feel like Trace McSorley will test him early. I doubt it will end well for Trace. Michigan’s defense should have a bounce back week after a much better week of practice.

Hopefully the Michigan offensive line is ready to go and way more prepared because they looked soft in the first half against Colorado. They need to be ready because Penn State is much better up front than Colorado. Pitt took them to the woodshed, but Michigan doesn’t have a James Conner. I expect Wilton to look much better with a week to rest that shoulder and hopefully the Wolverines will be more physical than Penn State. I also expect Jabrill Peppers to get more offensive touches. He’s obviously the most explosive player Michigan has, and it’s time to unleash him offensively.

How bout those special teams?! The past two weeks have been ridiculously impressive. Will we see another blocked punt? Will the kickoff team house one? What is next? This might be the best group in all of college football. I am expecting two huge plays on special teams that go in Michigan’s favor.

I have thought Michigan would crush the last two opponents like the crushed Hawaii. Unfortunately, that has not happened and it’s been a little unnerving to watch. I expect Michigan to come out and play well and play hard, but it will not be easy because Penn State never makes things easy. This should be a little bit closer then what everyone expects


Michigan vs. Penn State. Will the Wolverines run over Penn State to start the conference season?

Stay tuned.



Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.

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