Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#421 Michigan 45 vs.
#422 Penn State -7.5
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
Beaver Stadium, University Park
Written by Chris Kubala

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#421 University of Michigan
#422 Pennsylvania State University
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A pair of ranked teams meet in a Big Ten East Division showdown in the Keystone State. The #16 Michigan Wolverines are on the road as they travel to face the #7 Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday night. Michigan comes in off a 42-25 road win over Illinois in their previous game last Saturday. Penn State scratched out a tough 17-12 road victory over #17 Iowa in their previous game last Saturday. The Wolverines own a 14-8 edge in the all-time series, including a 42-7 romp at home in the last meeting between the teams on November 3, 2018.

Michigan Wolverines Seek Fourth Straight Win

Michigan earned their third straight victory as they took down Illinois on the road last week but there were some issues that have to be ironed out if they hope to continue their success. The Wolverines led 28-0 in the second quarter only to give up 25 unanswered points before scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns to put the game away. Michigan owned a 489-256 edge in total offense, picked up 25 first downs while allowing 17 and overcame a slight 30:13 to 29:47 disadvantage in time of possession. Both teams turned the ball over twice in the contest.

The Wolverines are 73rd in the FBS in passing offense as they average 231.2 yards through the air while ranking 78th in rushing offense with 156.2 yards per contest. Michigan is 59th in the FBS by putting up an average of 30.3 points per game on the season while ranking 15th in scoring defense as they allow 17.5 points per contest. Shea Patterson has completed 92 of 161 passes for 1,246 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions: he adds 55 rushing yards and four scores on the ground. Dylan McCaffrey is five of 11 for 57 yards while adding 63 yards and a score on the ground. Michael Barrett completed his lone pass for 25 yards while Joe Milton has hit three of seven for 59 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Zach Charbonnet leads the team with 79 carries for 376 yards and five scores on the ground. Christian Turner is the second back in the system with 37 carries for 146 yards and a score while Hassan Haskins contributes 26 carries for 189 yards plus a score. Ronnie Bell leads the team with 20 catches for 361 yards this season. Tarik Black (15 grabs, 232 yards, TD) and Nico Collins (13 catches, 269 yards, two TD) are the next targets in the mix. Jake Moody has hit all six extra point attempts and five of six field goals with a long of 43 this season. Quinn Nordine is 15 of 15 on extra points and is zero of three on field goals this season.

If Michigan loses this game, will Jim Harbaugh's seat continue to get hotter? Yet, should he be on the hotseat at 5-1? He's actually on the list of 22 coaches up for the midseason watch list for the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year award.

According to the press release, the Dodd Trophy “celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity -- the three pillars of coach Bobby Dodd’s coaching philosophy.”

Penn State Nittany Lions Look to Remain Unbeaten

Penn State had their struggles offensively in a defensive slugfest with Iowa on the road but did enough to put the game in the win column. The Nittany Lions now try to take down the Wolverines and run their record to 7-0 with a game against Ohio State still looming on the calendar. Penn State was outgained 356-294 in the contest and gave up 21 first downs while picking up 20. The Nittany Lions controlled the clock by a 32:52 to 27:08 margin in the game and forced a pair of Iowa turnovers while playing turnover-free ball themselves.

The Nittany Lions enter this contest 36th in the nation in passing offense as they average 274.2 yards through the air this season. Penn State is 43rd in rushing offense as they pick up 191.2 yards per contest. The Nittany Lions are ninth in the FBS in scoring offense by averaging 42 points per game and stand 2nd in scoring defense by allowing just 8.2 points per contest. Sean Clifford is 102 of 159 passing for 1,560 yards with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions: he is second on the team with 252 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Will Levis is 14 of 22 for 85 yards and a score while adding 66 rushing yards and two scores.

Noah Cain leads the team on the ground with 57 carries for 310 yards and six scores. Journey Brown (35 carries, 233 yards, three TD) and Devyn Ford (30 carries, 215 yards, two TD) are also valuable options in the ground game. KJ Hamler leads the Nittany Lions with 26 receptions for 455 yards and five touchdowns this season. Pat Freiermuth (17 grabs, 203 yards, three TD) and Jahan Dotson (14 receptions, 261 yards, three TD) are the only other players with double-digit catches on the year. Jake Pinegar has hit all 33 extra point attempts and five of six field goals with a long of 38 this season. Jordan Stout has not attempted an extra point and is two of three on field goals with a long of 57.

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This one is going to be a clash of tough teams. Both teams faced Iowa recently and emerged victorious: Michigan prevailed 10-3 at home while Penn State had their five-point win on the road last week. The Wolverines have bounced back nicely from their pasting to Wisconsin last month but they have rough stretches, like we saw against Illinois. You can’t afford to give up four or five unanswered scores against Penn State or you’ll be on the wrong side of a blowout. The Nittany Lions are extremely stingy defensively: they haven’t allowed more than 13 points in a game this season. You have to give the Nittany Lions the edge based on home field and their suffocating defensive attack.

Prediction: Penn State Nittany Lions -9

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We know that both teams can play tough defense when they want to, as we've seen repeatedly this year. Michigan's lone loss was when Wisconsin ran over them but they've limited the opposition for the most part in their other games. With that said, they were taken to overtime at home by Army and gave up 25 unanswered points to Illinois last week. Penn State has yet to give up more than 13 points in a game this season. Both teams had defensive struggles with Iowa in the last couple of weeks: can we expect anything different when they face off in this one?

The under is 4-0 in the Nittany Lions' last 4 games overall, 4-0 in their last 4 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game, 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up win and 6-0 in their last 6 conference games. Given how inconsistent Michigan has been offensively, not to mention the slew of question marks they have on the injury report at the skill positions, this one likely ends up under the total.

Prediction: Under 45.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.