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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2012 Michigan Football Defensive Line Preview

Depth Chart:

Freshmen likely to redshirt: Mario Ojemudia – An ideal scenario would have Mario redshirting 100% of the time, but the staff might just have to throw him in there with Frank Clark likely being suspended for a good deal of time.

Strong DEC. RohNate BrinkKeith Heitzman - Scout
 Craig Roh Nathan BrinkKeith Heitzman 

Freshmen likely to redshirt: Tom Strobel & Chris Wormley

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Masters of the Blitzkrieg, Losers of the War

Around midnight last night, full-on delirium took hold of me as I tried to process the day’s events. In succession, Michigan lost to Ohio in basketball, Michigan’s last hope for laArmani Reevesnding a #1 CB chose the rival Buckeyes, and a key interior line prospect committed to Iowa over the Wolverines. Taken in isolation, none of these events were surprising and certainly not cause for the comatose state in which I found myself at the end of the night. The #4 Buckeyes were heavy favorites to beat John Beilein’s Wolverines. CB Armani Reeves was known to favor the Buckeyes. Finally, linemen Alex Kozan was expected by many to pick the Hawkeyes. The hallucinations and bouts of sorrow that gripped me were not induced by shock or surprise. Instead it was a cocktail of despair and frustration over the events taken in unison, and the bewilderment over how we found ourselves in this position that left me catatonic. On Wednesday, Michigan will officially welcome one of the best overall recruiting classes in a decade and the first full class under Brady Hoke. Despite that, a feeling of disappointment remains in the pit of the stomachs of those who follow recruiting on a regular basis. Despite a fast start to the recruiting year and securing a very good class overall, Michigan will finish out the recruiting season with one its weakest finishes in recent memory.

Much has been made over the imposition of the new and more rigorous academic standards that have been put in place regarding who Michigan can and cannot add to the recruiting class. Michigan has been forced to turn away risky academic cases and has purposely shied away from recruiting kids who have no chance at qualifying as a result of the new standards. This approach has inevitably had an impact on the quality of the class as a whole.

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