Here are some game day rumblings:
- Mark Snyder of The Detroit Free Press predicts that Penn State will beat the Wolverines convincingly, 30-20. He thinks that they will try to pound the ball up the middle with Brandon Minor, but will fail because of “the impressive front seven.” That will necessitate that Tate Forcier throws with a presumably healed shoulder. Interestingly enough Snyder says, “The DB to avoid is A.J. Wallace.” (A.J. made his mark in the Minnesota game after being largely absent for the first six games.) He also believes that Penn State will need to go to the air, as Evan Royster will have limited success against a stiffening rush defense.
- Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News thinks that senior defensive end Brandon Graham will be up to the challenge of containing the Lions’ offense. Responding to Evan Royster’s declaration that Penn State is the better team, Graham responded, “He’s just going to have to show it. They better come hard, because we’re coming.” (That was almost as brilliant a statement as Royster’s.) Chengelis also thinks that avoiding turnovers will be key: “This one is kind of obvious — limit or eliminate turnovers. No kidding. But if there’s precipitation today, and there is a slight chance, that clearly makes the field slick and the ball tough to handle. That aside, turnovers are what cost both teams in their losses to unbeaten Iowa, Penn State losing at home because of a sloppy fourth quarter, and Michigan losing the ball five times at Iowa. Michigan has now lost 14, three more than it has gained, but the Wolverines will have to be error-free today.”
- From AnnArbor.com, a quote from Wolverines linebacker Stevie Brown demonstrates the muted swagger of the Rodriguez era at Michigan: “We just look at it as a game that we need to win and that we want to win. We don’t look at it like if we beat Penn State then we can say we’re part of an elite group in the Big Ten. We just know it’s another team on our schedule, it’s another team in the Big Ten and if we want to get where we want to get in the Big Ten we’ve got to beat all the teams.”
- Courtney Ratkowiak of The Michigan Daily wrote, “The Wolverines started talking this week about how Saturday’s game is the start of their ‘second season.’ The last time they said this was before the Wisconsin game last year, and Michigan came back from a 19-0 halftime deficit to pull out the win.” Meanwhile, Andy Reid of the same publication wrote about Joe Paterno’s Michigan Stadium woes.
- Meanwhile, Jay Paterno tweeted this: “Great message at church service: Are you living a life of fear or one of hope and confidence?” Perhaps he can pass this on to his Dad to see if he can relate it to the potential sphincterization of this game.
- This Turkey thinks there’s a lot riding on this game for both teams. For Penn State, it’s still a longshot possibility to get into a BCS bowl and to get at least a piece of the Big Ten championship. For Michigan, bowl eligibility is at stake. I don’t think you’ll see either team leaving anything in the locker room.