Editor’s note: Counting down to Michigan football’s season opener, Land of 10 is taking a look at the Wolverines’ 2017 opponents.
Michigan at Penn State
- When: Saturday, Oct. 21
- Kickoff time: TBA
- Where: Beaver Stadium, State College, Pa.
- TV: TBA
- Last meeting: Michigan defeated Penn State, 49-10. The Wolverines jumped out to a 28-0 lead and handily beat Penn State behind 515 of total offense, 6 rushing touchdowns and 6 sacks. The Michigan defense held Penn State to 50 yards in the first half and 199 for the game.
Penn State at a glance
Coach: James Franklin
2016 record: 11-3 (Big Ten champions)
Nittany Lions players to watch
Trace McSorley | Quarterback
Penn State didn’t lose another Big Ten game after the defeat at Michigan Stadium last season, winning the conference championship behind multiple second-half comebacks. McSorley, a redshirt junior, is at the head of the most explosive and balanced offense in the conference. He threw for more than 3,600 yards and 29 touchdowns last season while tossing just 8 interceptions. McSorley has plenty of options of where to go with the football, including running back Saquon Barkley, who should be a Heisman Trophy candidate.
McSorley was making just his fourth career start in that Michigan game. The Wolverines held him to 16-of-27 passing for 121 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception behind a barrage of pressure. He’ll be better equipped to handle that pressure this season.
Marcus Allen | Safety
Allen led Penn State with 110 tackles last season and is the face of the Nittany Lions’ attacking defense. He had 10 or more tackles in a game three times last season, including 22 in an overtime win against Minnesota.
Allen tested the possibility of declaring for the NFL draft as an underclassman but decided to return for his senior season. He is stronger in run support than his pass coverage skills (he has no interceptions in his career), but that’s only a slight knock.
Think Penn State’s going to be fired up for this one? The game has already been declared a ‘white out’ contest and, while no time has been set, it’s a pretty good bet this one will be in prime time. Penn State grew up rapidly after the beatdown it received at Michigan Stadium last season. Deficits meant nothing to the Nittany Lions, who outscored opponents 332-133 in the second half of games, and they have much of the core from that team returning. The good thing for Michigan is that this game is in the middle of the season and not in Week 4, as was the case for Penn State last season. Still, it will be a tough environment for the young Wolverines.
Penn State 35, Michigan 27