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Michigan Football vs. Penn State: Keys to Victory

It's time for a run game renaissance.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Get the Run Game Going

Michigan will face off against one of the best fronts they have seen all season in Penn State. The run game has struggled mightily in recent weeks and is a concern now heading down the stretch of the season.

The Wolverines have whittled down their "by-committee" approach at running back with De'Veon Smith and Drake Johnson getting the bulk of the carries there. They do not exactly need one to explode on Saturday, but they together must find a way to get it done.

The offensive line is not blameless in Michigan's recent run game struggles. It will be a tough task ahead of them against what the Nittany Lions have to offer, but they've got to open up holes and the backs need to see them.

Wormley and Company Can Feast

On the flip side, Penn State's offensive line is not the greatest and this is a matchup where Michigan's front four on defense have to be licking their chops.

PSU gave up 10 sacks in its season opening loss to Temple and Christian Hackenberg has been sacked 32 times (for comparison's sake, Jake Rudock has been sacked 13) overall this year.

Michigan's depth up front took a hit when it was announced that Ryan Glasgow is likely done for the season, which hurts and we saw what happened last week at Indiana. The line was gassed due to Indiana's tempo, which will not even come close to being replicated this week by Penn State.

It looks like Willie Henry will move inside to play one of the tackle spots with Chris Wormley and Maurice Hurst. All three players could, and should, be in for a big day if they play as we've come to expect this year.

Contain Saquon Barkley

The true freshman running back has been a stud for Penn State this season, rushing for nearly 200 yards twice (195 vs. Rutgers, 194 vs. Ohio State) and has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield in recent weeks.

Barkley was probably licking his chops after he saw what Jordan Howard did to Michigan's run defense last week. The Wolverines should be able to bounce back in that area, but Barkley is still a standout player to watch for.

On the season, he has rushed for 836 yards and seven touchdowns.

So what does Michigan need to do to secure victory number-eight on the season? Sound off in the comments below!