3. Michigan(9-0) at 3. Penn State (8-1)
When: Saturday, November 11 at 12:00 p.m.
Where: Beaver Stadium
Radio: See Penn State Radio Network
Follow Along: Nittany Nation Twitter Feed
Betting Line: Michigan -4.5
Three things to watch…
Michigan has yet to be tested. That end Saturday. For as good as Michigan has been in 2023, the Wolverines have yet to play much of anyone. Michigan’s opponents have a combined losing record, and nobody is or has been ranked. The Wolverine defense is statistically one of the top in the nation, but may be propped up by a soft schedule. Michigan has faced as many bottom 11 offenses (3) as top-100 offenses this year in scoring. Rutgers, 5-3, while a respectable version of itself, is the best opponent Michigan has seen this year.
Is Penn State over its offensive road block? In the box score, Penn State’s 51-15 win over Maryland was good. The eye test said it was great. The Nittany Lions stayed ahead of the chains, took almost no negatives plays, rushed well, and got the best version of Drew Allar we’ve seen. The sophomore was accurate and showed rapport with Toledo transfer Dante Cephas. Allar tied a career high with four passing touchdowns last week. Penn State will struggle to replicate that success against a much tougher Michigan defense, but is in a much better place than it was the past few weeks.
Getting pressure on J.J. McCarthy will be key if Penn State is to upset Michigan. The Wolverines have given up very little pressure on their Heisman hopeful quarterback and surrendered just 11 sacks this season. But in typical Manny Diaz fashion, Penn State has arguable the most disruptive defense in football. Besides being among the leaders in points and yards allowed, Penn State’s 20 created turnovers ranks second in the nation, as does their 38 sacks. In Penn State’s lone loss this year, they got to Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord twice. That won’t be good enough Saturday.