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Michigan vs. Penn State: What to watch for

A key piece returns as long as the creek doesn’t rise.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

No. 4 Michigan (3-0) welcomes James Franklin’s Penn State team (2-1) into the Big House on Saturday afternoon in the Big Ten conference opener for both teams.

The Wolverines are coming off of a 45-28 win over Colorado that raised many eyebrows, but that saw the team ultimately bounce back and get the job done.

Michigan cannot afford to get punched in the mouth to start the game for the second week in a row. Here are some things to keep an eye on today:

Welcome back

All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis looks like he will return to the field today after sitting out the first three games of the season. The backend of Michigan’s defense has struggled at times this year, so having him back could pay huge dividends as he essentially locks down half of the field.

Taco Charlton also appears as if he will return, which is just more positive news for a defensive line that has been one of the best in college football this year.

We’ll see how both look after a few weeks off this afternoon.

Maybe the run game today?

Michigan wants to run the football, but really has not shown much there in the first few weeks of the season, and part of it seems like they were just trying to get their feet wet and see what they have and what works.

With conference play starting up today, I think that Michigan will open up the playbook across the board, but definitely in the run game. These are the games that truly matter now and Jim Harbaugh and company will likely show more of what they hope to do offensively today.

Strike first

It has usually taken a drive or two for Michigan to get going this season, but today could be the day to punch a team in the mouth from the first snap on. This game should not be all that close and it would be a good sign that the Wolverines are for real if they were to dominate from start to finish against the best team they have faced to this point, but still a team they are three-to-four scores better than.

What will you be looking for today? Sound off in the comments below!