Two programs seemingly headed in opposite directions, this game is surrounded by a myriad of questions that will be addressed on Saturday night.
To quote a fellow Maize ‘n’ Brew colleague:
“Will it happen tomorrow? Who knows? I’m not usually one to make scoring predictions, so I decided to make some bold ass predictions instead.”
Well said, Von. Let’s do this.
Michigan takes a 10-point lead early
Much like how the Wolverines have done the last three weeks, expect Michigan to come out of the gates hot. Despite the egg they laid in Madison, the Wolverines are ranked 22 nationally in first quarter scoring.
While Penn State’s offense is statistically better than Michigan’s in every offensive category, they were held scoreless in the first quarter against Iowa and never scored more than 7 points in any quarter of that game.
Michigan’s offense will come out firing and the defense will respond in-kind with a suffocating start. A 14-point lead is not out of the realm of possibilities, but whatever cushion the Wolverines build will quickly fade in the second and third quarters.
Shea Patterson will not be the only Michigan quarterback we see
The dreaded Michigan football third quarter: fumbles, miscues, and complacency. Yes, Suicide Squad accurately describes Michigan’s middle of the game woes and this will allow the Nittany Lions to roar back into this game.
Once Shea Patterson’s fragile confidence begins to crack, three-and-outs pile up, and the entire team’s energy begins to wane, head coach Jim Harbaugh will turn to Dylan McCaffrey before things get out of hand.
Can McCaffrey be the difference maker in a decisive road game? We’ll see, but his spark will be felt throughout as the two teams enter….
… the fourth quarter tied
As much as I want to pontificate Michigan optimism and predict a victory, this is as spicy as I can be given the product that has been on display this season.
The two teams will enter the fourth quarter tied with a chance to make a statement. Is Penn State a threat to Ohio State in the Big 10 East? Is Michigan a dark horse in the conference with McCaffrey at the helm?
The fourth quarter of this game will go a long way in shaping the outlook of the Big 10 East.
Of course, since I predicted these things, the opposite will happen and the comment section will turn into a mosh pit with my lifeless corpse at the bottom.
Fortune favors the bold and for the Wolverines to win, they must be bold. Michigan cannot come out with the same stale play-calling and expect to get it done against Penn State. A victory in Happy Valley will require a Herculean effort and while I have my doubts, the defense and overall team talent cannot be counted out.