Penn State Game Prediction

While nobody in Fort Schembechler will ever apologize for a 5-0 start, few outside it will concede that their record has been indicative of their play.

Look no further than Vegas opening the line in Saturday’s game with Michigan as a one point favorite in Happy Valley against a Penn State team with even more youth than Michigan, and depth issues due to their NCAA restrictions.

Michigan did themselves no favors with poor efforts in games against Akron and UConn, and while last week’s game against Minnesota was an improvement, there are still several issues to work on.

In the 2+ year stint of Brady Hoke, Michigan is a .500 team, going 6-6 in the 12 games away from Michigan stadium.

Penn State licks it’s wounds after its routing at the hands of a potent Indiana Offense which put up 44 on them last week.

All these things factor into many thinking this game will be much closer than it probably should be.

There are other factors that lead me to believe it won’t be that close, however. First, the changing up along the offensive line proved to be effective, in spite of still having great room for improvement. Chris Bryant looked good at times, lost at others, but undoubtedly is talented, and big, and has a nasty streak.

Secondly, moving Funchess to WR was a great move. With Jake Butt needing reps and AJ Williams having the injury bug, they had no choice but to keep him at TE.  But with Funchess out wide, putting bracket coverage on Gallon, and putting 8 in the box like teams have shown won’t work, without giving a 6’5, 235 pound super athlete in single coverage. It should prove to not only open things up for Gallon and the run game, but also should give Devin Gardner more time in the backfield.

On defense, Jake Ryan has been cleared to play, and expect him to take some snaps this week and next, utilize the bye week before MSU to get into total game shape, and be ready for the Spartans.

One comes back, and one leaves, with Soph NT Ondre Pipkins being out for the year with an ACL injury sustained in the Minnesota game. A loss of course, but I expect Quintin Washington to take more of the starter snaps, and Willie Henry to continue to get snaps.

Having experienced Happy Valley first hand for the 2006 UM game, it can be electric. But they also are very similar to Michigan Stadium. When things aren’t going as planned, a pin drop can be heard in spite of 100,000+ people being there.  Take care of the ball, keep the playbook simple, and pound the rock. On defense, we won’t like watching the bend but don’t break, but making a freshman quarterback beat you is just what makes Greg Mattison happy. Expecting him to nickel and dime you without making any mistakes is unlikely and I like Michigan’s chances to keep PSU in check for the most part.

Michigan, 34, PSU 23

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An Early Look at the 2012 B1G Legends Division (Pre-Spring)

1. Michigan 10-2 (7-1)

michigan logo

2012 Forecast

IF the Wolverines can find somewhat productive replacements for Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen and find consistency on offense, they should have another very good season.

Key Returnees

Offense: Denard Robinson (QB-SR) 142-258 (55%) 2173 Yds. 20 TD 15 INT – 221 Carries 1176 Yds (5.3) 16 TD. B1G Football Honorable mention.Denard Robinson - OSU

Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB-JR) 187 Carries 1091 Yds (5.6) 9 TD – 6 Rec 1 TD. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Jeremy Gallon (WR-JR) 31 Rec. 453 (14.6) 3 TD.

Taylor Lewan (OT-JR) B1G Football Second Team.

Defense: Jordan Kovacs (SS-SR) 75 Tackles 8 Tfl 4 Sacks 1 Int.

Kenny Demens (MLB-SR) 94 tackles 5 Tfl 3 Sacks. B1G Football Honorable mention.

Jake Ryan (SAM-SO) 37 Tackles 11 Tfl 3 Sacks.

Craig Roh (DE-SR) 32 Tackles 8 Tfl 4 Sacks.

Key Departures

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Crystal Ballin’ UM’s 2012 Recruiting Class (5/28/11)

The first list had 20 kids. I’m thinking that we end up with somewhere around 22, but to make it easier for me I’m making it 24.

Alden Hill1. QB – Tyler O’Connor. Still no offer. UM is probably waiting on Gunner Kiel’s decision before they offer another QB.

2. RB – Alden Hill. Unless OSU goes down pretty hard we aren’t going to get Dunn, so Hill might be our best option eventually.

3. WR – Aaron Burbridge. Michigan has pulled even with Sparty, possibly even nosing ahead. He has some work to do to qualify, but he will probably end up in this class.

4. WR – Malik Gilmore. Has stated many times he’d like to visit.

5. TE – Devin Funchess. Michigan commit!

6. TE – A.J. Williams. Michigan commit!

7. OL – Ben Braden. Michigan commit!

8. OL – Caleb Stacey. Michigan commit!

9. OL – Jordan Diamond. Has liked Michigan for a long time and close friend Chris Bryant was in the 2011 class. He could decide this summer.

10. OL – Jordan Simmons. Still holding on to my dream.

11. OL – Erik Magnuson. Still has Michigan in his top group and is visiting in a few weeks.

12. DE – Pharaoh Brown. Michigan commit!

13. DE – Matt Godin. Michigan commit!

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Michigan Football Recruiting Update (5/19/2011)

Terry RichardsonRecruiting continues to stay hot for the Wolverines with the commit of Detroit, MI cornerback Terry Richardson. The Cass Tech Technician is the next in line of undersized, but very gifted corners to commit to Michigan. Richardson has very good hips and a nice back pedal. He’ll need a little bulking up, but has the skill set to be a good player. Terry picked Michigan over Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC.

New Offers

Devan Bogard (S) – 6’1”  180 lbs. Cleveland, OH.

Drae Bowles (WR) – 6’1”  205 lbs. Jackson, TN.

Faith Ekakitie (DT/SDE) – 6’3”  275 lbs. Lake Forest, IL

Allen Gant (S) – 6’2”  205 lbs. Sylavania, OH. Legacy recruit.

Eli Harold (WDE) – 6’3”  220 lbs. Virginia Beach, VA.

Will Hines (CB/S) – 6’1”  175 lbs. Michigan will be a factor here.

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Michigan Football Recruiting Update (5/6/2011)

WOW! Since the last recruiting update two weeks ago Michigan has received an impressive four verbal commitments. Tight endsA.J. Williams Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams as well as linebackers Joe Bolden and James “Biggs” Ross all joined the fold. Funchess is a kid with a ton of upside and is athletic enough to play some receiver as well. A.J. Williams is a monster tight end who could potentially end up on the o-line at some point. Joe Bolden said that he could commit at any time and he did just that. He and his family drove up to A2 and did it in person. On the other hand, James Ross was quite the surprise. He was going to take some time, but needed to secure his spot as a Wolverine ASAP. Linebacker now looks to be full and the question is does Michigan take tight end Ron Thompson if he wants on board too? Probably.

New Offers

Nelson Agholor – four star athlete out of the Sunshine State.

Ken Ekanem – four star Virginia defensive end.

D.J. Foster – exceptional athlete from Arizona.

Hiva Lutui – four star OG out of Texas.

Tyriq McCord – nice looking defensive end out of Florida.

Durron Neal – the best receiver in Missouri not named Dorial Green-Beckham.

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