The Teams: Michigan (5-0) at Penn
State (3-2) The History: Michigan holds a 10-6 all-time advantage
in the series. Penn State has won the last three meetings. The Depth Charts:Penn
State and Michigan The Place: Beaver Stadium, State College, Penn. The Time: 5:00 p.m. EST The Line: Michigan -3 The Broadcast: ESPN The Updates:Follow
the game on The Fort or follow us on Twitter: Borton, Balas, Spath, Reid and Sullivan.
"We've on from Indiana. Our guys are very, very excited
about the opportunity they have Saturday night against a
great Michigan team, a 5-0 team coming here, 108,000 fans.
Our guys are very focused on Michigan, learning the game
plan, studying Michigan and our guys are going to show up
and play hard Saturday night."
-- Penn State coach Bill O'Brien on the Nittany Lions
getting past their dissappointing 20-point loss to the
Hoosiers and looking ahead to the Michigan showdown.
The number of Wolverines who have played in a game at Penn
State: Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, Jibreel Black, Cam
Gordon, Thomas Gordon, Courtney Avery and Jeremy Gallon.
Michigan will have to fight the crowd noise in one of the
most hostile venues in the country. 45.4: The percentage of Penn State's
passing yardage accounted for by all-Big Ten weapon Allen
Robinson. Shutting down Robinson will be the key for the
Wolverines' defensive hopes of shutting down the Nittany
Lion offense. 496.5: The average yardage allowed in Penn
State's two losses this year: a 34-31 loss to Central
Florida and a 44-24 loss at Indiana. The Nittany Lions'
defensive numbers are inflated by wins over Eastern Michigan
(No. 106 nationally in total offense) and Kent State (No.
Players To Watch
1. Devin Gardner, redshirt
junior quarterback: The embattled Michigan quarterback
turned in the first turnover-free contest of his young
career as the Wolverines' starting quarterback last weekend,
efficiently managing the offense in a 42-13 win over
Minnesota. Gardner may be asked to do a little more this
weekend, especially with his legs against a Penn State
defense with a propensity of giving up big plays on the
ground. Can Gardner put together another turnover-free
performance? If so, it will be difficult for the Nittany
Lions to keep up.
2. Blake Countess,
redshirt sophomore cornerback: Countess has been
outstanding thus far in 2013. Coming off a terrible ACL
injury that forced him to miss all but a series against
Alabama in 2012, Countess has been on fire. He is tied for
No. 1 nationally in interceptions with four and leads the
country in interception return yards (149), just 33 yards
behind the Michigan single-season program record. Countess
will have a lot on his plate Saturday, facing perhaps the
best receiver Michigan will see all year in Penn State's
3. Allen Robinson, junior
wide receiver: Robinson is a massive part of the Penn
State offense, already boasting 38 catches for 621 yards and
five touchdowns. He has had at least seven catches for at
least 129 yards and a touchdown in four of Penn State's five
games this season, with the exception being a three-catch,
43-yard outing in a 37-0 blowout win over Kent State in
which Robinson hit the bench early. He is going to be a
load, because true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg
relies on him so heavily. If the Wolverines can shut him
down, they can effectively shut down the Penn State offense.
4. Devin Funchess,
sophomore tight end: Is Funchess still technically a
"tight end"? If he has a few more games like last weekend's,
in which he lined up all over the field and beat several
cornerbacks while split wide, he might need a new title. The
Wolverines have searched for another weapon in the passing
game besides fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon, and they may
have finally found it. Funchess' progress will force
defenses to lighten up on Gallon, who has received a ton of
attention in the last few weeks from opposing secondaries.
5. DaQuan Jones, senior
defensive tackle: The Michigan interior offensive line
is still very much a work in progress, even after promising
developments last weekend against Minnesota. The Wolverines
have surrendered 37 tackles for loss in five games (105th
nationally). Jones is going to be a big test for the guys
inside. He ranks second in the Big Ten with 6.5 tackles for
loss, including two sacks. The Wolverines will have to keep
him out of the backfield in order to get the run game going.