Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Obligatory look at Michigan


Schedule/Results

Overall (2-4)
Utah – L (25-23)
Miami (of the Ohio variety) – W (16-6)
Notre Dame – L (35-17)
No. 9 Wisconsin – W (27-25)
Illinois – L (45-20)
Toledo – L (13-10)

Team Overview

Penn State has lost nine in a row to Michigan over the last 12 years. The Wolverines have won six of their last seven road games against ranked opponents. Penn State hasn't beaten Michigan in State College since 1995.

That's about all the good news for Michigan.

Offense

Michigan is dead last in the Big Ten in scoring and total offense and they are 100 and 109th in the nation in those categories. They rank 10th in passing offense and 9th in rushing offense. Their top quarterback Steven Threet, who happens to be their second best runner, may not play Saturday along with backup running back Brandon Minor. Oh by the way Penn State ranks 1st in the Big Ten in rushing, pass efficiency, and total defense.

Running back Sam McGuffie leads the team in rushing with 424 yards with a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry. Wideout Martavious Odoms leads the team in receiving and was banged up but will be playing Saturday. Michigan's Achilles heel this season has been turnovers where they rank a statistical worst in turnover margin in college football.

Defense

The defense isn't that bad coming in 3rd in the conference and 21st overall but Juice Williams really exploited the Michigan defense. They are 5th in the conference in sacks and 3rd in Tackles for loss so the definitely have playmakers.

Middle Linebacker Obi Ezeh leads the team with 56 tackles and 6.0 TFL. D end Brandon Graham does most of the damage; he is tied for second in the league with 5 sacks and leads the league (and the nation) in tackles for loss with 10.5 (2.10 per game) and he missed the Toledo game. Needless to say, the offense will have to know his whereabouts at all times. Outside of those two the statistics don't tell much. Michigan only has 5 ints on the year and 6 fumble recoveries.

Special Teams

There is one bright spot for this Michigan team, the supreme overlord Zoltan Mesko leads the conference in punting averaging 45.23 yards per punt, good enough for 8th in the country.

artists rendering

Kicker K.C. Lopata is 4 of 7 on field goals putting him dead last in the Big Ten. He also missed at chip shot 26 yarder as time expired against Toledo that would have sent it into overtime.

The return team? I'll save you the time – their longest return, punt or kick, is 36 yards.

Game Outlook

The only thing going for Michigan in this game is the past (well that and great punting) but as I said previously, I don't think the past has anything to do with this Penn State team. Paterno said we should forget the Toledo game but it's hard to ignore when a 1-4 MAC team beats Michigan. Simply put this team isn't good and there is absolutely no excuse for Penn State to lose this game; none. Penn State has a better offense, defense, and special teams (except for Mesko). Sure Michigan mustered a great game against Wisconsin but don't forget they were down 19-0 at the end of the 3rd quarter in that game and Wisconsin went to sleep defensively. That won't happen Saturday, if the Nittany Lions are up they will keep the hand on the throttle just like they did against the Badgers. I don't expect this one to be close.

TNL's Prediction

A Mauling. Ok, if I have to enumerate the destruction I'll say the following:
PSU 42
Michigan 10

2 comments:

Mike @ ZN said...

I remember thinking in 2005 that PSU would beat Michigan by a comfy margin. Well, yeah, that worked out. But I don't have any problems this season with thinking this will be a demolition. In 2005, Michigan still had good talent, and lost a few games on fluke plays--Minnesota and Notre Dame. So they wren't that bad. This year is, well, very different...

Galen said...

Yeah, this is the first year in a long time that I really believe in PSU, even in 2005, I knew it was against a decent team on the road. This year their team just plain sucks. No excuses.