Michigan must be thankful that this will not be played in night-time Whiteout conditions. Those games just seem different, with more pomp and more rabid fans…good luck to any visitor.
Compare the atmosphere, and results, when the Nittany Lions played Illinois three weeks ago, in a noon kickoff, to their Sept. 18 evening gala against Auburn, a 28-20 victory for Penn State. The contrasts are stark.
In certain computer rankings, both are top-10 material. Michigan’s two dangerous backfield men will set the pace before a national ABC television audience.
Our Pick: Wolverines +1 (-110)
NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET
|Beaver Stadium, State College, PA
No. 9 Michigan Wolverines (8-1)
Coach Jim Harbaugh has a dynamite backfield, with Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins splitting duties to give defenses plenty of headaches. No other program can boast of two national top-40 tailbacks.
Haskins is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior from St. Louis who has amassed 829 yards on 165 carries, with 11 touchdowns.
Corum is a 5-8, 200-pound sophomore from Marshall, Va., who has run 130 times for 778 yards and 10 TDs, averaging 7 yards on 20 receptions with another TD.
Here’s the cherry on top, if you’re Harbaugh—both have combined to carry the ball 295 times, and neither has fumbled it once.
Penn State has been allowing 3.7 yards per run, in the top quarter of the country. But it has yielded 147 yards per game, which is mediocre.
Those two backs will open it up downfield for receiver Cornelius Johnson and tight end Erick All.
It can be frustrating watching Harbaugh remove starting quarterback Cade McNamara, a sophomore, for JJ McCarthy, a rookie who isn’t such a better runner than McNamara, either. Then he puts McNamara back in.
McNamara threw for a career-best 383 yards in that toe-stubbing defeat at Michigan State and deserves to stay in the pocket until he fails miserably.
No. 23 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3)
When last seen in Happy Valley, it was a sad outcome when Penn State got zapped by Illinois, 20-18, in that goofball nine-overtime affair. Sandwiched around that stunner, the Lions went 1-2 on the road.
They are 6-3 ATS, and seven of their nine games have finished under their totals. They are familiar with playing tight games, and senior quarterback Sean Clifford is familiar with Michigan.
He beat the Wolverines each of the past two seasons, throwing for 163 yards and running it in for a score last year in Ann Arbor. Two years ago, Clifford threw for 182 yards and three TDs, and had another one on the ground, in Beaver Stadium.
Two years ago, Zach Charbonnet ran for 141 yards and two TDs for Michigan against the Nittany Lions. He zipped to UCLA. Last year, Haskins ran for 101 yards and two TDs, but Corum had only 27 yards.
This time the Wolverines have a powerful two-dimensional backfield and a top-10 defense in several areas.
Michigan at Penn State Full Sportsbook Odds
Sports Betting Recommendation
We have two models that show Michigan winning by five and six points, respectively. It should be 46 degrees, with minimal odds of precipitation, under partly cloudy skies. Perfect conditions for two Wolverines to run wild.