Scouting Report: Michigan
In perhaps the most highly anticipated matchup in quite some time, the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions will welcome the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night.
Michigan enters the game with a record of 5-1, and they are fresh off of a 27-20 overtime win at Indiana last weekend. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is 2-0 against the Nittany Lions in his time with the Wolverines.
With College Gameday visiting State College, all eyes will be on both teams; especially Michigan’s offense.
At quarterback, John O’Korn has struggled mightily since he took over for Wilton Speight, who went down with an injury in the first half against Purdue. O’Korn’s stats aren’t aesthetically pleasing at all. He has completed 45 passes on 82 attempts with only one touchdown and four interceptions. If O’Korn underperforms, do not be surprised if Michigan turns to backup quarterback Brandon Peters.
At running back, Michigan has the three-headed monster of Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, and Ty Isaac. Higdon ran all over the Indiana defense last week, rushing for 200 yards and providing the winning points on the first play of overtime.
Due to Michigan’s inept passing game, there is a good chance that all three backs will get significant carries in the game and they will test the Penn State front seven.
Fullback Khalid Hill will also carry the ball should the Wolverines enter inside the 5-yard line. He is a battering ram and has a nose for the end zone in those goal line scenarios.
Grant Perry is the leading receiver for the Wolverines with 18 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown. Then at tight end, Sean McKeon isn’t far behind with 15 receptions for 181 yards.
Michigan’s other receivers include Kekoa Crawford, Eddie McDoom, and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Peoples-Jones was former consensus five-star recruit and has the capability to become electric when the ball is in his hands. Especially on special teams where he already has a punt return for a touchdown.
On defense, the Wolverines have one of the best units in the country led by Maurice Hurst Jr, Mike McCray, Devin Bush, Rashan Gary, and Chase Winovich.
Devin Bush has proven to be one of the finest linebackers in the Big Ten with 48 total tackles and five sacks. Rashan Gary is a dominant force on the defensive line. However, his status for the game is uncertain as he is nursing an arm injury.
The Michigan secondary is anchored by cornerbacks Lavert Hill and David Long, alongside safeties Josh Metellus and Tyree Kinnel.
Hill and Kinnel each have two interceptions apiece, one of which being a touchdown. However, the secondary is undersized with the tallest member being 6 feet even.
Penn State’s tall athletic receivers will test that undersized secondary should the Wolverines stack the box and bottle up Saquon Barkley throughout the game.
Expect Michigan’s offense to rely predominantly on running the ball. If Penn State’s defense stacks the box and makes O’Korn have to throw, the Wolverines will be in for a long night at the whiteout.
Christopher Hess is freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.