(Featured image courtesy of Eric Upchurch)
Ann Arbor, Michigan– The non-conference schedule is over and Michigan is undefeated. They’re ranked in the top five in most polls and about to start the slate of nine Big Ten games. It all starts on Saturday against Penn State (2-1) at 3:30 p.m. from The Big House.
This will be Michigan’s 20th game against the Nittany Lions and leads the series with 12 wins. Their offense is led by quarterback Trace McSorley, who is 58-for-90 for 828 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Their running back, Saquon Barkley, has 51 rushes for 258 yards. Their offense has scored eight touchdowns in 16 red zone opportunities. They also have eight turnovers with opponents scoring 35 points, but have outscored opponents by 35-17 in the fourth quarter.
Michigan’s Evaluation After Non-Conference Play
We know more about this team than we did a few weeks ago, with many highlights throughout the first three games. Some of the overall themes are as follows:
1. Freshman are earning playing time with the group of Rashan Gary, Chris Evans, Eddie McDoom, Devin Bush Jr., Michael Onwenu, Lavert Hill and Ben Bredson.
2. Speight is feeling confident with eight touchdowns, one interception on his first throw of the season, and hitting 63% of his passes.
3. Defense is showing their dominance, as predicted, with room for improvement. We may see Jourdan Lewis back in action but it’s unclear how much.
4. Offensive line can improve. The run game is something we will keep a close eye on and may do well against Penn State. Chris Evans has been solid with De’Veon Smith in the back with a great run for a touchdown against Colorado. They have done a great job protecting Wilton Speight to throw down the field or to his tight end group.
5. The Special teams group is impressive and improved. Michigan blocked a field goal and a punt against UCF, had a blocked punt picked up by Grant Perry for a touchdown, and two other kicks tipped this past game. Jabrill is forth in punt return returns with an average of 21.6 yards and one touchdown return last week. He will continue to take kickoffs and punts returns helping to set up the offense with great field position.
TWD Staff Predictions
Our staff picked Michigan to win, but the final score varied:
Aaron, Senior Staff Writer
Steve, Recruiting Analyst
Syed, Staff Intern
Patrick, Recruiting Writer
Alex, Graphics Designer
Jeffrey, Writer and Video Specialist
Zeke, Staff Writer
I see this game starting much different from last week for Michigan. They have a great first half and go up 24-10, then Penn State only scores a single touchdown in the second half with a late field goal. Final score is 37-20 with Michigan moving on to play Wisconsin.
Best part, I’ll be there to cover it…