What to expect from Michigan Football and Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts to a play against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 13, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts to a play against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 13, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Looking ahead to Michigan football and Penn State on Saturday, here are four thoughts on the Wolverines and the Nittany Lions. 

This Saturday on October 15th the Wolverines of Michigan football will get their first real test of the season, as 10th-ranked Penn State comes into town. Both teams are looking to keep their undefeated season alive and stay in the three-way race for first in the Big Ten East standings.

Be ready for a dog fight

The Wolverines came into Happy Valley last season and won 21-17, thanks to a 47-yard TD pass from McNamara to Erick All.

Michigan football is looking to win back-to-back games against the Nittany Lions, which they haven’t done since 2016 when they won three in a row. The last three matchups have all been decided by 10 points or less, with PSU winning two of the last three.

Establish the run early 

If Harbaugh wants to take down Franklin again he’s going to need to establish the run. This means the Wolverines’ offensive line needs to dominate the line of scrimmage, and allow Corum and Edwards to rip off big gains early.

We’ve seen how Michigan matches up when they can dominate the line of scrimmage against good defenses, like last year against OSU and Iowa. If the line can hold up, expect a 100+ yard day for Corum.

Don’t be afraid to throw the deep ball

If the Wolverines want to extend their winning streak, they cannot be afraid to throw the ball, especially if the run isn’t working.

With J.J. McCarthy at the helm of this offense, the potential is limitless. The former 5-star is coming off his first 300-yard, three-touchdown performance against Indiana.

The Hoosiers put up a first-half fight against Michigan, but the offensive performance in the second half gives hope for the top-10 showdown this weekend in Ann Arbor.

Don’t get down early

The Wolverines will need to control the pace and tempo if they want to win this Saturday. The Wolverines are not a great team when they’re trailing, as the Wolverines have lost more than half of one-score games at the half in Harbaugh’s time at Michigan.

Next. Grading Michigan's win over Indiana. dark

McCarthy and the offense will need to possess and drive down and score on their first couple of drives to ensure they don’t fall behind early.