The No. 5 Michigan Wolverines are set to take on the No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon in what will be one of the most watched games of the day.
If Michigan is to come out victorious, there’s a few things they should do that would greatly help their chances.
Michigan’s keys to victory vs Penn State
Test McSorley’s mobility
PSU QB Trace McSorley missed a few series against Iowa after injuring his right knee. He came back into the game and ran for a 51-yard touchdown. However, when McSorley came back in he wore a knee brace.
We don’t know how his knee felt the day after PSU’s win, or how it has felt this week. “Just going through getting treatment and that sort of thing,” McSorley said on Wednesday. “I’m going to leave it at that. Just going to get treatment and day-by-day I keep going on and getting better.”
Maybe the knee issue won’t be an issue at all, but there’s only one way to find out, and we already know Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown will dial up some blitzes to test the escapability and mobility of McSorley.
One way or the other, Michigan needs to find out how to attack McSorley in this one early in the game, as he’s rushed for 617 yards and nine touchdowns this season while also passing for 1,628 yards, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Penn State’s offense isn’t one dimensional necessary, but they don’t have any dangerous players that really jump off the page at you besides McSorley. I’d go so far as to say if McSorley doesn’t have success running against Michigan, this could turn into a blowout.
Pick up the d-line pass-rush
Notre Dame had the most success getting to Shea Patterson this season, but Jim Harbaugh has a high level of respect for PSU’s d-line. “I’d say the entire defensive line, I think it’s the best we’ve played so far,” Harbaugh said on Tuesday. “It’s an aggressive group that is very strong with an inside pass rush, as well as speed and power on the edge. Been an impressive group.”
Michigan’s offensive line has played extremely well for over a month now, and they have to go out and prove themselves once again in order to give their team a chance at scoring a lot of points. Yetur Gross-Matos and Shareef Miller will be worthy foes, though.
Play with a chip on their shoulder
Let’s face it, a lot of the game of football is psychological whether we want to admit it or not.
Penn State tried running up the score in the last minute during their 42-13 win in Happy Valley. Multiple players on Michigan said they didn’t forget that this week, and Don Brown told the team to make this game personal.
Well, it got even more personal after James Franklin said Michigan DB’s grab and hold. Do you think David Long, Lavert Hill, and Brandon Watson are going to let those comments phase them? If anything, they’ll let ‘em fuel them.
They’ve been calling this the revenge tour for a reason, so they might as well keep the hate flowing and it’ll likely aid their performance, not hinder production.