Peters Is Going To Row The Boat -Minnesota Game Prediction

by Mark Edwards

It’s time for the Little Brown Jug.  Actually, it’s time for Goldie the Gopher to Row the Boat with the Little Brown Jug into the Big House with Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network channel changers.  Truth be told, it’s a football game between two long-gone-by rivals that has been flexed into a night game that should be a noon kickoff.

Has Michigan every played in a game that had two more charismatic head coaches going against each other?  I can’t remember one.  Here’s the deal on P.J. Fleck:  He’s going to do a good job at Minnesota and I think he’ll qualify for the B1G Ten title game in the years to come.  However, the Minnesota teach he has inherited just isn’t there.  In Fleck’s words, “We are in year zero.”  Hmmm, zero as in the number of points your offense should score?  Correct.  I swear I saw Fleck on the People’s Court when I used to watch that show when I skipped classes in college.  But PJ Fleck is too young for me to be in college with him on the show.  With his new look, he has the aura of a “Joe Dirt” supporting actor.

OFFENSE

Peters, Peters, Peters.  That’s what the 110,000+ will want to see.  Is he what he was vs. Rutgers?  Is there some movement back to the mean?  I think Peters plays well again.  I did note that Don Brown bragged up Dylan McCaffery yesterday.  What does all of that mean?  You’ve most likely seen the end of the John O’Korn days.  Michigan will attempt to  employ the power running game with Higdon and Evans.  I expect a nice diet of Collins, Peoples-Jones and McDoom with some new wrinkles to free up the tight ends.

DEFENSE

This is the game that we see the defense “recover” from the Penn State whipping.  I expect misdirection from the Gophers and trickery.  However, the longest run for Minnesota will be Fleck’s sprint after the first and third quarters.  I’m expecting some moderate length drives to start the game but you’ll see Michigan’s best pass rush in the last decade.  Minnesota is scrappy and won’t be the 2016 Rutgers but their lack of firepower is going to be noticeable as this plays out.

FINAL SCORE:  Michigan 34, Minnesota 14

PICKS TO CLICK:  Offense – Brandon Peters,  Defense – Lavert Hill

CONFIDENCE LEVEL:  18

ONE THING THAT MAY SURPRISE:  Michigan will score a special teams touchdown.

ONE THING THAT MAY DISAPPOINT: Brandon Peters will throw his first interception.

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Don Brown “Pressure of the Week” – Rutgers

by Mark Edwards

The “pressure” felt by the Michigan Football team this week had everything to do with the other side of the ball.  But in this week’s installment of the “Pressure of the Week,” we are going to look at a great individual effort that was mirrored by the discipline of his teammates.

THIS WEEK’S PRESSURE

SITUATION:  3rd & 8, Rutgers ball on Rutger’s 27 yard line

TIME:  14:11 left in the third quarter

WHY THIS SERIES:  There certainly wasn’t the influx of sacks and pressures that we saw in 2016 but this series, which was Rutgers first of the third quarter, saw a chance to cut the lead to 7 points if they could put it into the end zone.

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.23.37 PM

FRAME #1

OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Empty Left (it is a 3×2 formation with three receivers to the field and the Janarion Grant into the boundary.)

RUTGERS PERSONNEL: 00 (0 running backs, 0 tight ends, 5 wide receivers)

DEFENSIVE BASE:  3-3

MICHIGAN PERSONNEL NOTES:  Michigan’s defensive line is occupying the left side of Rutgers’s offensive line.  Chase Winovich (#15) is lined up over the nose while Maurice Hurst (#73) is in a 3-technique (outside shoulder of the guard).  Defensive end Rashan Gary (#3) is in a 5-technique (outside shoulder of the tackle).  Backup viper Noah Furbush (#59) is in a 5-technique to the bottom of the screen.  Cornerbacks David Long (#22) and Lavert Hill (#24) are in their normal press alignments.  Linebackers Devin Bush Jr. (#10) and Mike McCray (#9) are aligned in stacked positions on Gary and Winovich (they are already moving in the screen shot above).  Viper Khaleke Hudson (#7) is splitting the difference  between the #2 and #3 receivers to the top of th screen.  Safeties Josh Metellus (#14) and Tyree Kinnel (#23) are getting to a cover 2 depth (meaning they are responsible for the deep halves of the field).

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.23.49 PM

FRAME #2

What is Rutgers doing here?  Rutgers is running a five-man route which means that the offensive line should be able to handle the four-man pressure.  The Rutgers line has slid their protection to the defensive front.

What has changed:  Two things of note here.  First, Furbush (#59) has dropped to race back to the #3 receiver to the field who is running a vertical stem.  Secondly but most importantly, Gary has already defeated the left tackle.

Michigan’s pressure: With the bail into coverage by Furbush, it has been accompanied by Devin Bush Jr.’s blitzing through the B gap.  Hurst (#73) has ripped into the A-gap.  Winovich (#15) has worked from the center and is responsible for the contain of the pocket to the bottom of the screen.

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.24.00 PM

FRAME #3

What is Rutgers doing here?  Forget the pass route.  It’s not going to work.  The Rutgers left tackle has been “run by.”  The rest of the Rutgers line is in good shape here.  Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno is in the grasp of Rashan Gary.

What has changed:  A sack seemingly is imminent.

Michigan’s pressure:  Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno is in the grasp of Rashan Gary.  Notice the eye discipline of Winovich and Bush Jr.  They know what they are responsible for doing in this pressure.

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.24.11 PM

FRAME #4

What is Rutgers doing here? Surviving…barely.

What has changed:  Rescigno has escaped the Gary “sack” attempt.   He is going to attempt to escape to his left.

Michigan’s pressure:  Gary has missed the sack attempt.  Notice that Devin Bush Jr. (top of the screen rusher) has the escape attempt contained.  Hurst and Winovich are starting to mirror the quarterback’s movement.  Gary, while stunned he didn’t get the sack, is already up and in pursuit.  That’s a sign of fanatical effort.

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.24.22 PM

FRAME #5

What is Rutgers doing here? The scramble attempt continues.

What has changed:  Rescigno now has a bigger problem that Gary.  He is being forced back into the middle of the pocket because Devin Bush Jr. has defeated the left guard is now on a dead run into the quarterback..  Hurst and Winovich are waiting for him.

Michigan’s pressure:   I can’t think of a worse place to be than between Gary and Bush Jr. with both of them sprinting at me.  Winovich is slightly out of position because he’s right on top of Hurst.

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.24.33 PM

FRAME #6

What is Rutgers doing here? This is a sack.  There is no escape.

What has changed:  Rescigno has entered Don Brown’s “Bermuda Triangle” where quarterbacks rarely survive.

Michigan’s pressure:  Winovich, who was out of position, has now accelerated into the middle of the pocket while Bush and Gary are within a step.

Screen shot 2017-10-29 at 4.24.46 PM

FRAME #7

Sack!!!

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FINAL THOUGHT: While some teams look like they think they have nothing to play for, it’s the opposite of the effort shown here by the Michigan defense.  It’s the second week in a row that a four-man pressure has been featured.  Once again, it’s a great sign to get home with four rushers…even if it’s just against the Big Ten’s JV team-Rutgers.

An Ode To College Gameday – Rutgers Game Prediction

by Mark Edwards

In 1993, ESPN took “College Gameday” on the road for the first time when Notre Dame hosted #1 Florida State in a November showdown.  In the 24 years since, College Gameday has become as big of a staple in College Football as Beano Cook, Keith Jackson and January 1st bowl games before them.  In honor of ESPN’s College Gameday, we are going to shake up the format for the weekly prediction.  The Block M Insider has spared no cost to bring to you the guest pickers at the end of this column. We hope you appreciate it.

INTRO- Comin’ to your city

When I first heard the song, I thought it was the Pampers truck to deliver diapers for all of the Michigan fans who have embarrassed this university/team by, quite honestly, “jumping ship” this week.  I guess a 42-13 loss to Penn State is too much to deal with.  If that’s the case, how did any of the so called “fans” make it from 2008-2010?  Was the loss disappointing?  Yes.  Was it the worst loss in the last decade?  You decide.  Here’s a list:

  1.  2007 vs Appalachian State
  2. 2015 vs Michigan State (punt snap anyone)
  3. 2014 vs Maryland
  4. 2008 at Notre Dame
  5. 2010 vs Mississippi State (technically it was 2011)
  6. 2009 vs Purdue

Okay, so the list goes on and on.  The takeaway is this:  Michigan got beat by a top tier team with the best player in college football.

SATURDAY SLATE

We welcome our top rival in Rutgers to Michigan Stadium for the 2017 Homecoming game.  It’s actually a noon kickoff.  Rutgers comes in off of a victory vs. Purdue and the best offensive mind in college football.  Uh oh!  We are in trouble.  I’m sure Chris Ash has the score of last year’s game (78-0) littered across the streets of Piscataway, New Jersey this week.  Speaking of littering, go back and take note of how many spoiled baby Michigan fans have inundated the internet with ramblings of a little petulant child who didn’t get their way at about the age of 5.  As former Colorado Head Coach Dan Hawkins once said, “This is Division One football brother.”  You know why the big boys stay the big boys?  The answer-they had to go through the process to ensure sustainability.  Michigan’s not there and if you thought they were going to lose 10 starters on defense and 12 guys to the NFL and just reload with no growing pains, you need to check your expectations.  Speaking of pains, also this team lost their starting quarterback this season.  I’m not talking about Florida State here.  However, both the Seminoles and Wolverines struggles should remind you of something.  You don’t see a backup step in and outperform a starter on a normal basis.  It’s has happened but to expect that is the pure definition of lunacy.

FEATURED PLAYER – Brandon Peters

I like Brandon Peters.  I like him because he plays for Michigan and not some other team.  With the exception of the Spring Games that he has played in, I can’t tell you much about his playing history.  Why not?  The answer is soooooo simple-I’m not at practice everyday and, in that respect, neither are you.  Michigan fans want John O’Korn to be better and most have concluded that means the next guy has to play.  Okay, that’s a perfectly popular opinion…in every sport ever.  Backup catchers, set-up relievers who should be the closers, the rookie point guard on the bench….they are all the same.  They are the most popular players on the team.  At Michigan, that has always been the backup quarterback.  Maybe Peters becomes the next Tom Brady.  Wait, I just did some research.  Tom Brady didn’t play until his fourth year on campus.  Peters in is year #2.  Hold your horses.  Trust the process.

GUEST PICKER SELECTIONS

In this week’s guest picker selections, we bring to you all of the candidates that the cry baby Michigan fan base is clamoring for.  They’re going to predict the final score and comment for the first time on their ability to do this just better than OUR COACH.

Rex

Rex Ryan – Former Jets and Bills coach now an ESPN commentator

“I like Michigan to win and win big.  How big?  Doesn’t matter but I’ll go 52-0.  As for the Michigan job, nobody can satisfy those people and speaking of satisfaction, let’s go get a God Damn snack.”

Mullen

Dan Mullen – Mississippi State Head Coach

“I’m busy working in the EESSSSSSEEEEEEEEECCCCEEEEE.  Haven’t seen much film on either team.  I could call Hugh Freeze as I’m sure he has family time now but I’ll just wing it.  Michigan has Harbaugh.  Rutgers sucks Ash.  I’ll take Michigan 42-3.  I want to clarify that my twangy style isn’t going to work in that Big Ten and especially not in the Big Ten East.  I’ll stay here and be thankful that I wasn’t hired there last time…wait the last three times.”

SchianoAtPractice

Greg Schiano – Former Rutgers Head Coach, Michigan Candidate and Current Ohio State Defensive Coordinator

“I’ve been to Rutgers.  Since the passing of Tony Soprano, things have been bad there.  Harbaugh has a 5-2 team and their fan base is seemingly losing their minds.  What other fan base does that?  Oh wait, I work in Columbus.  I know the feeling.  While it might seem that it’s never good enough, Michigan will be.  I’ll TTUN 49-0.  Don’t tell Urban I used the M word.  Speaking of M words, I’m majorly hoping that the crybaby whine ass Michigan fans run Harbaugh out of there.  It’d be the best thing for Ohio State.”

fisch

Jedd Fisch – UCLA Offensive Coordinator and former Michigan Passing Game Coordinator

“Book it.  Michigan 63, Rutgers 0.  As for all of that other crap, I believe in Jim and the fans should too.  If they don’t, they belong at the school in East Lansing.  As for my candidacy, I’m going to be just fine here in about two months.”

Rich Rod

Rich Rodriguez – Arizona Head Coach and former Michigan Head Coach

“Y’all need to just understand that y’all have a defense.  Boy, I never did.  Michigan loses to Rutgers by a score of 17-14.  I’m hoping my son Rhett is still a Michigan commit.  As for me returning, have y’all ever tasted Miss Rita’s Nacho Dip?”

jim-harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh – J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach Michigan

“The fake love is gone.  I’m not going anywhere.  So watch what the hell happens on Saturday.  Brandon Peters is progressing.  Wish I could say the same for our fan bases understanding of the process.  You throw a snowball at me, I throw a rock at you.  Back to work.”

As for my prediction, I’ll go with Michigan 56, Rutgers 0.  Why?  Just to see the fan base have to sit a week with nothing to complain about.

It’s Time to Start Brandon Peters

Last Saturday, Michigan was humiliated on national television in prime-time. Penn State beat up on the now unranked Wolverines 42-13 in Happy Valley, a loss was a probable prediction, just surprising to see it in blowout fashion. Sitting at 5-2, Michigan’s hopes for a division title are all but officially crushed. Outside of two touchdown scoring drives, the offense remained lifeless and was shutout in the 2nd half.

Meet Brandon Peters: 6’4 gunslinger redshirt freshman, Michigan’s backup quarterback, former no. 1 overall recruit in the state of Indiana, the favorable candidate for the starting job in 2018, was in the conversation to win the starting job for this season.

Peters went 9-17, threw for 160 yards, and added a score in the Spring Game earlier in 2017.

A large portion of the Michigan fan-base wanted the redshirt freshman to be the starter this season after seeing him in the Spring Game. Harbaugh ultimately decided to stick with the experience, putting two veterans ahead of Peters on the depth chart, Speight and O’Korn. Which was reasonable and predictable in my mind, an inexperienced team usually can benefit from having a veteran QB, right?

The offense is as bad as it’s been in years for Michigan, the quarterback play hasn’t been flawless, but it hasn’t been the primary issue. The pocket collapses too quickly, not good separation thus far from young receivers, run-game very inconsistent, play-calling has been questionable and they’ve displayed overall bad communication throughout the unit as a whole.

This season was expected, by many, to be a transitional season considering the amount of talent departing from the program a season ago, graduating over 40 seniors, losing 11 to the NFL draft, and being faced with the task of retooling a very youthful team. Michigan fans, of course, are going to expect a lot, it’s in their nature and they crave a championship (haven’t won a conference title since ’04).

Harbaugh’s seat is not hot, if he keeps losing big games then it’ll definitely get there, but that’s a conversation for another day. Michigan is currently 5-2, both in-division losses, likely crushing any hopes to win the Big Ten yet again for the Wolverines. The reality of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure is that there’s now legitimate pressure to win big games, and championships for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The only goals in front of Michigan for this regular season are to win 10 games, spoil Ohio State’s season, and win a bowl game.

Prior to Saturday, I was in support for the idea of keeping the guy with the most experience under-center, safest bet for the specific circumstances. It’s officially time to bench John O’Korn for Brandon Peters. It’s a distasteful decision if you have empathy towards O’Korn’s situation, but even he has to understand what’s best for the program. Like I said before, quarterbacks are not the issue with this offense, but he’s just not the future, his eligibility will expire at the end of 2017, Peters has the rest of this season, and three entire seasons left in Ann Arbor.

If I’m Jim Harbaugh, I want a ready-to-go, experienced quarterback for 2018. Wilton Speight will have a remaining season of eligibility but that’s not promising — we don’t know if Speight will ever be able to play football again, vertebrae injuries aren’t a joke. Harbaugh was asked about Speight following the Penn State game and had this to say about his situation: “Get healthy – that’s where most of his efforts are being concentrated. He’s at practice. I know he’s chomping at the bit. His bones (are) healing back together. It takes time. He’s been a good teammate. I know he’s chomping at the bit.”

Michigan’s remaining schedule consists of: Rutgers, Minnesota, @ Maryland, @ no. 5 Wisconsin, and no. 6 Ohio State. The Rutgers game this Saturday is an ideal matchup for a debut start where Peters can hit the ground running, build some confidence, have his home crowd behind him while he’d likely earn his first win as a starter for Michigan.

Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland are games that Michigan should win and I believe they’ll handle all three teams somewhat convincingly, all good opportunities for Brandon Peters to get his feel for Big Ten football, create a rhythm, and grow with an also young offense.

With three favorable match-ups under Peters’ belt, he should appear collected and confident heading into the Wisconsin, and Ohio State games. These two games will give Peters an even better feel for college football intensity, playing Wisconsin on the road, and then playing in the arguably biggest rivalry in American sports are both opportunities which a lot of quarterbacks strive to get.

Do I think Michigan can win at least one of these marquee November games, or potentially both? Nothing surprises me in college football today, it’s a crazy game. If a Brandon Peters led offense is able to host a likely top ten ranked Ohio State team, and pull off a win? Think about the confidence that’ll give the young quarterback headed into the 2018 season.

I don’t have faith that Jim Harbaugh starts Brandon Peters from here on out, as I believe he should, but I do have faith that he’ll have more than one opportunity to see an increased amount of playing time, most especially in the next three weeks. A championship team more times than not features an, at least, competent quarterback, and we need to prepare the young buck for the spotlight.

Harbaugh was asked about the possibility of Peters seeing more snaps/playing time and said: “Just going along the process of readying him to play. The backup quarterback always needs to be ready to play.” Still referring to him as the backup behind O’Korn.

What does this team have to lose at this point? The Brandon Peters era needs to begin, the fan-base craves it, and Michigan needs the Indiana native to be ready. Sorry John O’Korn, but college football is a business which revolves around winning, and you’re 2-2 (3-2 if you count Purdue, played three-quarters) as a starter, 0-2 in big games.

 

 

 

Don Brown’s “Pressure of the Week” – Penn State

by Mark Edwards

This column has been highlighting blitz pressures from the Michigan Defense all season.  However, I think most of the fan base would’ve hoped that with the front four, pressure could be applied at times without having to involve the back seven.  Well, after the initial “blitz” by Penn State, Don Brown had to adjust and mix in far more of the 4-3 base and four-man pressure than we’ve seen this season,

THIS WEEK’S PRESSURE

SITUATION:  1st & 10, State ball on Penn State’s 25 yard line

TIME:  12:53 left in the second quarter

WHY THIS SERIES: This series is the first shot the defense had after Michigan scored their first touchdown to bring the score to 14-6 (Yes, Quinn Nordin is human).  You got the sense watching the game that this was a crucial series for the defense.

Screen shot 2017-10-22 at 2.42.46 PM.png

FRAME #1

OFFENSIVE FORMATION: Empty Left (it is a 3×2 formation with three receivers to the field and the RB split wide into the boundary)

PENN STATE PERSONNEL: 11 (1 running back, 1 tight end)

DEFENSIVE BASE:  4-3

MICHIGAN PERSONNEL NOTES:  Freshman DE Kwity Paye (#19) is in a speed rush alignment to the bottom of the screen.  DT Bryan Mone (#90) is in a 1 technique with Maurice Hurst (#73) is in his customary 3 technique to the strength of the formation while Rashan Gary (#3) is in a 5 technique (outside shoulder of tackle).  Viper Khaleke Hudson (#7) is lined up over the #2 receiver while LBs Mike McCray (#9) and Devin Bush Jr. (#10) are inside the box.  McCray is shaded to the #2 boundary receiver.  Cornerbacks David Long (#22) and Lavert Hill (#24) are in their normal press alignment.

Screen shot 2017-10-22 at 2.43.25 PM.png

FRAME #2

What is Penn State doing here?  Penn State is setting up for a five man route with the H-back releasing vertically as well.  They are in a man protection, which is going to help Michigan (keep reading).

What has changed:  Hudson (#7) has moved into the split the difference between the #2 and #3 receivers.  Bush (#10) has dropped into coverage as well as McCray (#9) has down to the bottom of the screen.

Michigan’s pressure:  The pressure is a simple “TAT” stunt between Mone (#90) and Hurst (#73).  Hurst’s job is to drive into the A-gap (remember he is lined up in the B-gap) while Mone loops around and becomes the B-Gap rusher to the field.  Paye (#19) and Gary (#3) are rushing through the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles.

Screen shot 2017-10-22 at 2.43.36 PM

FRAME #3

What is Penn State doing here?  They are running both outside receivers on vertical routes while both the #2 and #3 receivers are running outs and the #2 receiver to the bottom of the screen is running a shallow cross.  The big problem for Penn State here is the pass protection.  They have recognized the TAT stunt but have poorly traded off their protection responsibilities (#66 is the center and he should take Hurst while the left guard #74 should take Mone).

What has changed:  Hurst is unabated to the QB right here while Paye and Gary have kept McSorely in the pocket.

Michigan’s pressure:  This is as well of an executed TAT pressure as you can see.

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FRAME #4

What is Penn State doing here?  They are getting sacked.

What has changed:  The QB has pressed the pocket forward which is right into the rush of Hurst.  Why would he do that?  Look at Paye (#19) and Gary (#3).  There’s no escape outside.

Michigan’s pressure:  Hurst has gotten home while Mone is not squeezing his side of the pocket inside.

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FRAME #5

SACK!

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FINAL THOUGHT:  It is a good sign anytime a defense can get home with four rushers.  Do I think it will continue to be the “pressure of the week?”  No.  Penn State had something to do with the fact that we needed the back seven to do something that is outside of our norm.  With Hurst and Mone leaving, the development of the next set of interior linemen is paramount as the season continues.

 

Harbaugh, Michigan in Control of their Own Destiny

This one’s for all of the Michigan fans out there hanging onto, what seems to be, an unlikely scenario for their favorite football team.

Can Jim Harbaugh’s third Michigan Football team run the table and crack the playoffs? I wouldn’t put my money on it considering what we’ve seen on the offensive side of the ball this season (98th total offense, 101st passing offense, through 6 games for Michigan). The run game appears to be the only hope for Michigan at this point in the schedule, Karan Higdon broke out last Saturday with 25 touches, 200 yards, and 3 scores.

I’m not counting out the Wolverines yet, they have a great opportunity on Saturday night to make a statement as they’re headed to Happy Valley to play no. 2 Penn State on national television. The pressure for Harbaugh to win this one is as big as it gets; win tomorrow night, then they’re back in the playoff conversation, but if they lose, they’ll likely be unranked for the first time since the BYU game in 2015.

After the upset loss to MSU, lot of the fan-base has thrown in the towel for the season, and began focusing on what Michigan will do in 2018. This is wrong because the reality of the current state of the season is that they’re sitting at 5-1, coming off a conference road-win, and they’re about to play the no. 2 team in the nation.

Michigan’s recipe for a potential playoff berth is as simple as it gets: win out. If the no. 19 ranked Wolverines are capable of winning the games they’re supposed to win (Rutgers, Minnesota, Maryland), and pull off wins against currently ranked top ten teams (no. 2 Penn State, no. 5 Wisconsin, no. 6 Ohio State), then they’re in. This scenario would only work out under an assumption that MSU drops another game or two to fall short of the East division title.

I don’t realistically expect Michigan to pull off the unlikely run to crack the playoffs, I personally believe that they lack the offense competence to do so. Do I think it’s crazy to think that Harbaugh has enough tricks up his sleeve to sneak a win or two out of the three marquee games remaining this season? Absolutely not, Harbaugh is a wild-card and he’s managed to win games that his teams have had no business winning.

I hope I’m wrong, I hope the offense comes to life against Penn State, and a newfound momentum propels this young team to new heights. After all, this is college football, crazy things have happened and they’ll definitely continue to happen — anything is possible.  It’s up to them to do it, and it starts tomorrow night with all odds stacked against them, backs against the wall.

 

 

“White Outs” Work Both Ways – Penn State Game Prediction

by Mark Edwards

The dreaded “white out” awaits Harbaugh & Co. this weekend in Happy Valley.  Does it lend itself to a great atmosphere?  Absolutely.  Will it be the loudest atmosphere that Michigan will play in this year?  Maybe.  Will Michigan be prepared for it as best they can?  Yes.  But here’s the real deal…any coach will tell you that the adjustment period is a play or two.  Then, the white-wearing, fantatics will be entertaining themselves and those of us on television.  In terms of impact, the white out will have very little.  Michigan plays in front of 115,000 people every home game.

OFFENSE

Can John O’Korn put it together?  The answer has to be “show me.”  I think the clamoring for Brandon Peters has subsided because it’s been obvious that Harbaugh doesn’t think that is the best option.

Can Michigan run the ball?  Penn State’s defense does a great job limiting big plays.  Michigan has two running backs who average over 5.5 yards per carry.  Something has to give.  My best guess is that Michigan will hit some runs but the Indiana formula to success won’t ultimately help Michigan win.

Can the passing game make enough plays down the field?  It better.  Penn State will crowd the line of scrimmage and make Michigan go downfield.  I expect Peoples-Jones and Gentry to be given opportunities.  You recruit players to make plays.

DEFENSE

How does the Michigan defense handle Barkley?  I think they will keep in mostly in check in the run game.  A few runs will pop but none will be Heisman candidacy worthy.  The concern is the pass game.  I think Deving Bush Jr. will become the blitzer and Hudson will be the Barkley coverage man.   Look for Dr. Blitz to bring his most exotic plan.  Why Hudson?  He’s a linebacker already and that will not allow Penn State to formation him into a mismatch in the run defense.

Can McSorely win the game for Penn State?  He’ll have to because I really expect the Michigan defense to play their best game of the year.  He may get some scrambles but his arm vs. the pass coverage will decide this one.

FINAL SCORE:  Penn State 27, Michigan 21 (I hope I’m wrong.)

PICKS TO CLICK:  Offense – Zach Gentry, Defense – Khaleke Hudson

CONFIDENCE LEVEL:  3.  But my Hope level would be a 7.  Confidence is a scary thing.

ONE THING THAT MAY SURPRISE:  Michigan will score a defensive touchdown.

ONE THING THAT MAY DISAPPOINT:
Trace McSorely will have two scrambles that will decide the game.