Connect with us


Previewing Michigan football at Penn State

Michigan football will head to Happy Valley for their first ranked matchup of the season.



Michigan football Wolverines
© Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan football heads to Happy Valley this weekend to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. This will be the Wolverines’ toughest matchup so far this season, however, it will also be another chance for them to prove their skill and dominance. Because Jim Harbaugh’s temporary restraining order ruling against the Big Ten was pushed back, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will assume head coaching duties for today’s matchup.

Michigan football at Penn State: Game preview

Michigan Offense

JJ McCarthy has continued to prove himself as an elite quarterback, throwing for 335 yards against Purdue. He remains the most accurate quarterback in the conference by completing 75.7 percent of his passes, while also averaging the most yards per pass with 10.4 yards. Penn State’s defense will be McCarthy’s most difficult test yet, however, he has proven to perform well under pressure in the past.

All five of Michigan’s touchdowns against Purdue were rushing touchdowns, three of which came from Blake Corum. He remains the leading scorer in the NCAA with 16 touchdowns this season. While the run game has come second to the passing game for the Wolverines much of this season, the impressive secondary of Penn State will likely force Michigan to run the ball a bit more.

Roman Wilson continues to be a central receiver for McCarthy with 153 yards against the Boilermakers. Colston Loveland and  Donovan Edwards had some impressive showings of their own, with 55 yards and 41 yards respectively. While Wilson has been the main focus in the Wolverines’ passing game, McCarthy continues to have numerous options for who to pass the ball to.

Michigan Defense

Each week, Michigan’s defense has a new set of players leading the way, proving how much talent they really have. Defensive back Makari Paige had a team-leading eight tackles against Purdue, bringing him to 22 tackles on the season. Defensive end Braiden Mcgregor and linebacker Junior Colson each had four tackles against the Boilermakers. Colson’s 49 tackles lead the team while Josiah Stewart’s 4.5 sacks are the most by any Wolverine so far this season.

Penn State Offense

Penn State’s only loss this season was a close matchup against Ohio State where they lost by 8 points. They have dominated in most of their other matchups, including two shutouts against Iowa and Massachusetts.

Drew Allar has thrown for 1,895 yards this season, along with 20 touchdowns and only one interception. Allar has continued to improve as the season has gone on, however, he struggled significantly in the Nittany Lions matchup against the Buckeyes, where he completed only 42.9 percent of his passes and was sacked four times.

Rushing duties for Penn State have mainly been split between Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton this season. Allen has 573 rushing yards and four touchdowns whereas Singleton has 480 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. The Wolverines have done an impressive job of stopping the run game this season, allowing an average of 90.1 rush yards per game.

KeAndre Lambert-Smith is Penn State’s leading receiver this season with 645 yards and four touchdowns. He is not so closely followed by tight ends Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren who have 246 yards and 216 yards on the season. If Michigan’s secondary is able to keep the ball away from Lambert-Smith, they should have no problem forcing the Nittany Lions to run the ball.

Penn State Defense

Linebackers Curtis Jacobs and Abdul Carter have been very important members of the Nittany Lions defense, which is ranked second in the country behind the Wolverines. Jacobs has 36 tackles and Carter has 35 tackles so far this season. Defensive end Adisa Isaac also leads the defense with 6.5 sacks.

This has been the game that many fans and foes of Michigan football have been awaiting all season. With constant knocks on their strength of schedule, this will be a prime opportunity for Coach Harbaugh and the Wolverines to prove that they are truly one of the best teams in the country.

Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics and Big Ten content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Publisher at Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!