Penn State Preview 2010

Michigan comes off a Bye Week with two weeks to prepare for the Nittany Lions, and are a 3 point favorite in Happy Valley. Penn State and Michigan are playing for a potential Bowl berth; if Michigan wins, they'll be Bowl eligible with 6 wins and if Penn State wins, they'll have 5 wins and they hope to get their 6th win against a weak Indiana team next month. In 2009, the Nittany Lions pulverized the Wolverines, 35-10 in Ann Arbor. Michigan leads the series 10-5, but Joe Paterno is looking to make it three in a row over Rich Rodriquez. It looks like the winner of this game will either get the Little Caesar's Bowl or possibly the new Dallas Bowl for the #7 or #8 Big Ten bowl eligible team.

On offense, Penn State has had a weak offense thus far in 2009 and got more bad news this week when their Freshman Quarterback Rob Bolden from Orchard Lake St. Mary's in Michigan was informed that he would not play this week due to a concussion after starting the win over Minnesota with a 9 of 9 passing performance. His backup, Matt McGloin, finished the Minnesota game with a 6 of 13 completion performance with 2 TDs and one interception. Their receivers are Junior Derek Moye, Sophomore Devon Smith, Sophomore Justin Brown and Senior Tight End Brett Brackett. This group averages 17 receptions and 209 yards per game which ranks them 8th in the Big Ten. In the backfield, Senior Evan Royster and Freshman Silas Redd are the leading rushers. Royster averages 64 yards and Redd averages 29 yards per game while the Nittany Lions average 129 yards per game which is 10th in the Big Ten. Last year, Royster had 100 yards on 20 carries against the Wolverines. Their offensive line has Junior Chima Okoli at Right Tackle, Senior Stefan Wisniewski at Right Guard, Senior Doug Klopacz at Center, Junior Johnnie Troutman at Left Guard and Junior Quinn Barham at Left Tackle. Wisniewski is the only returning starter on the offensive line. The Penn State offense ranks 10th in the Big Ten in 3rd down conversions, and 11th in Red Zone offense and first downs. If they are able to establish a running game, and control the clock, we'll probably struggle in this game. If we shut down their run, and force them into a lot of 3rd down passing situations, we'll have a good chance to win this one unless our offense turns the ball over too much.

On defense, the Nittany Lions are strong, very strong! They are quick and athletic. Their front four is led at Defensive Tackles by Junior Devon Still and Senior Ollie Ogbu and Defensive Ends Jordan Hill and Sophomore Pete Massaro. They will be tough to block to gain rushing yards, and they'll be tough to block in passing pressure situations. We will see just how good our offensive line is on Saturday. At linebacker, the Nitts have the Big Ten's leading tackler in Senior from Birmingham Brother Rice Chris Colasanti, Junior Nate Stupar and Senior Bani Gbantu. Sophomore Michael Mauti will also see a lot of action; he is the third leading tackler on the team. Penn State is nationally know for their Linebacker University motto that is well deserved. In the backfield, their cornerbacks are Junior D'Anton Lynn and Sophomore Stephon Morris, and safeties are Junior Drew Astorino and Junior Hero Andrew Dailey. Sukay has 3 interceptions and Still has 3 sacks. This group has allowed only 4 TDs on the ground in 7 games, and is ranked #2 in the Big Ten in pass coverage. They'll be as tough on our offense as Iowa and Michigan State have been.

On Special Teams, their placekicker Senior Collin Wagner is one of the best in the Big Ten; he has hit 14 of 17 this year including a 49 yarder, and he averages 2 field goals per game. Penn State is #1 in kickoff coverage, #2 in kickoff returns and #2 in the Big Ten in net punting. They are a well coached team, and aren't going to lose many games from special teams play; in fact, they may win many close games as a result of their impressive special teams units. Anthony Fera does the punting and kickoffs. Junior Chaz Powell is their kickoff returner and backup wide receiver; he leads the Big Ten in kickoff returns. Justin Brown handles punt returns. Penn State is also the least penalized team in the Big Ten.

Penn State is not going to score a lot of points even on our defense unless we turn over the ball often. Our offense has shown it is capable, but it hasn't shown it can convert big plays or red zone opportunities against good solid Big Ten defenses. This will be a close game and come right down to 4th quarter possessions. Hopefully, the Maize and Blue will prevail.

Michigan 28 Penn State 27