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This Week at The Wolverine Den
Pennsylvania State at Michigan
September 24, 2016 - 3:30 p.m. ET
Michigan opens the Big Ten season with a game at home against the Penn St Nittany Lions. Penn St is finally out of their sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky scandal and field a full scholarship team this season. It has been 7 years since PSU has had a relevant team. The article in the PSU student newspaper this week says that just staying within 3 touchdowns of Michigan will be considered progress for Penn St.
Mac & Cheese
Burgers & Brats
Penn St is led by sophomore RB Saquon Barkley. As a freshman last year, Barkley rushed for over 1000 yards and is considered one of the best in the conference. Trace McSorley is the new QB, replacing long time starter Christian Hackenberg. McSorley has been pretty good so far in 2016 – averaging 276 yards per game and completing over 64% of his throws. His favorite target has been Chris Godwin. PSU plays a pro style offense that doesn’t have many big playmakers, besides Barkley. It’s the kind of offense that Michigan will dominate.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
Many will recall Eric Mayes, the walk on (meaning he was not signed to a scholarship)who started at linebacker for the 1997 team. Who are starters on the 2016 team that are walk-ons?
The Nittany Lion defense is weak against the run but has been great against the pass. They do apply pressure but had three linebackers injured last week. PSU has given up yardage and points this year and that trend should continue on Saturday.
Michigan has shown flashes of brilliance during the non-conference slate. The offense has produced 53 points per game and the defense has been dominating at times. Special teams has been outstanding. This is a game where everything comes together and the Wolverines show they are for real. Penn St has committed the most turnovers in the B1G and are last in the conference (118th in the nation) in converting 3rd downs. Michigan leads the nation in 3rd down defense so don’t expect the Lions to convert any long drives. Michigan has won 45 of their last 48 Big Ten opening games, and that success will certainly continue.
Michigan leads the all-time series with Penn State 12-7, winning last season at Penn State 28-16.
The Wolverines are an 18½ point favorite.
Great Moments in Wolverines - Nittany Lions History
- The 1997 game pushed Michigan to the #1 ranking for the first time that season. PSU was also undefeated, ranked #2 and were playing at home. It was the “pinch me” game as Michigan stormed to a 24-0 halftime lead outgaining the Lions 289-34 in the half. You couldn’t even see Mt Nittany that day.
- Michigan shut out Penn State 27-0 in 1998 – the first time PSU had been shut out in some 20 years. Just for good measure, we shut them out again in 2001 20-0.
- Derrick Alexander’s punt return gave Michigan a 14-10 lead in the very first meeting between these traditional powers in 1993. Then on first-and-goal at the one yard line in the 4th quarter, Penn State was stopped four straight plays by the stout Michigan defense to preserve the win. It was Michigan’s 1000th game and Archie’s inspiration.
- Mario Manningham’s reception was a “walk off” TD on the last play of the 2005 win against undefeated Penn State.