White Out, GameDay, Wolverines, Oh My!
Four Things to Look For: Penn State vs. Michigan
1. White Out in Beaver Stadium
The last time Michigan played during a white out in Beaver Stadium it went to four overtimes and ended with a Penn State win. I was at that game, it was my junior year of college at Penn State. I almost fell off of the bleachers when wide receiver Allen Robinson came down with a game saving catch. That catch continued the drive, sending the game to its first overtime.
Penn State head coach, James Franklin, was quoted earlier this week staying, “The only thing better than Christmas is a white out football game.” I can affirm that every Penn State football fan feels this way, but the opponent rarely ever does. Last season Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was quoted saying, “I wish they’d save the white out for other games.” In addition, during the white out game in 2014 against Ohio State, fans registered at 111 decibels. That is 14 decibels short of hearing pain in your ears. There is no doubt that the 109,000 plus fans will effect the game Saturday night. Hopefully assisting the Nittany Lions in a much needed win.
2. College GameDay on campus
College GameDay is coming to Penn State for the first time since 2009. That year the Iowa Hawkeyes upset the No. 4 Nittany Lions during a primetime matchup on ABC. The festivities will take place on Old Main lawn from 9 a.m. to noon. Old Main lawn is the focal point of campus, greeting visitors as they enter campus from downtown State College.
Host Rece Davis is looking forward to seeing the white out in Beaver Stadium in person. He was quoted saying, “I don’t know how to describe it other than it just sort of looks intimidating,” he said. “…There’s something about the white at night in Beaver Stadium that, based on television, it looks like it’s on top of you more so than the other color-outs.” Overall, it will be an eventful weekend, hopefully ending better than it did in 2009.
3. Penn State secondary against John O’Korn
The Penn State secondary led by Marcus Allen, Christian Campbell and Grant Haley is leading the nation in scoring defense. Michigan quarterback John O’Korn is completing just 54.9% of his passes. Furthermore, O’Korn already has four interceptions through three games with only one touchdown pass. The Nittany Lion secondary will be the toughest test O’Korn has faced this season. They have 11 interceptions through the first six games, in addition to 6.5 TFL and two sacks. If the Penn State secondary can keep the pace they have set through the first six games, the Nittany Lions will escape the first of three tough games with a win.
4. Penn State offensive line against a top Michigan defense
The Wolverines are leading the Nation in total defense, while the Penn State offensive line has struggled the last few games. The Penn State offensive line has allowed 48 TFL and 16 sacks through the first six games of the season. Trace McSorley will have to get the ball out of his hand quick against a Michigan defense that leads the nation in almost all defensive categories. Specifically, defensive tackle Maurice Hurst already has 29 tackles, seven for loss through the first half of the season.
Furthermore, with the defensive line taking much attention, the Wolverine linebackers get to the backfield often. Wolverine middle linebacker, Devin Bush, is the patrolman of the defense and already has 48 total tackles through six games, including 4.5 sacks. The offensive line will have its hands full on Saturday, but if McSorley can find creative ways to keep Saquon Barkley involved and continue to spread the ball around the Nittany Lions offense should be too much for even the talented Wolverines to handle.
A well-rested offensive line will have to step-up against the toughest opponent of the season in the Michigan front seven and their linebackers. The Penn State secondary needs to keep pace with their production this season and force O’Korn to throw his fifth interception. Look for the Penn State defense to win the game on Saturday during the white out in Beaver Stadium.