October 13, 2006
SPO fRTiSan aild
Varsity could find pitfall in PSU Nittany Lions
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Editor
It will be a homecoming of
Quarterback Chad Henne and
wide receiver Steve Breaston
will play in their home state for
the first time since they came to
They will face a pumped Bea-
ver Stadium crowd and a Penn
State team that is coming into its
The last time Michigan start-
ed a season 6-0, it won the 1997
national championship. That team
went into Happy Valley and domi-
nated a Nittany Lion squad led
by current New York Giants line-
backer LaVarr Arrington 34-8.
This Wolverine team hopes to
do the same.
Michigan rushing offense vs.
Penn State rushing defense
Each week, the opposing team
knows what the Michigan offense
is going to do. Still, running
back Mike Hart has racked up
at least 100 yards on the ground
in all but one game. Tomorrow
the Wolverine ground attack will
face its toughest challenge yet.
Penn State features a great set
of linebackers, especially with
Paul Poslusnzy anchoring down
the unit. With the Nittany Lions
already planning to put eight
men in the box, Michigan might
struggle to pick up yards.
Michigan passing offense vs.
Penn State passing defense
Losing wide receiver Mario
Manningham hurts Michigan's
ability to stretch the field, but
receivers Adrian Arrington and
Steve Breaston should be able
to carry the load. Michigan
has focused on establishing the
run all year, so Manningham's
absence doesn't mean as much
as some think. On the other side,
Penn State features sophomore
Justin King, who scorned Michi-
gan to don the Nittany Lions'
blue and white. If the Michigan
run game struggles against the
Penn State front eight, Henne
will have to continue to show the
accuracy he's displayed over the
last few weeks. Look for Michi-
gan to use Arrington to stretch
the field while keeping Breaston
short for his speed routes.
Michigan rushing defense
vs. Penn State rushing offense
The Wolverines feature one of
the most dominating front fours
in college football. With Alan
Branch and Terrance Taylor
anchoring the middle, opposing
running backs have had a tough
aim for revenge
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Editor
Last year, one second decided
Penn State coach Joe Paterno
made a point of it at Big Ten Media
Day in August when he told Michi-
gan coach Lloyd Carr he had three
minutes to speak, not 3:01.
Jokes aside, tomorrow's game
between Michigan and Penn State
could be a potential stumbling
block for the Wolverines (3-0 Big
Ten, 6-0 overall).
No. 4 Michigan travels to Beaver
Stadium to face a struggling Penn
State team in a game that features a
major role reversal from last season.
A year ago, Michigan played
the spoiler against a Penn State
team that was poised to make a
run at a perfect season and the
national championship game.
This year, Michigan has reached
6-0 for the first time since its 1997
national championship season,
and the Nittany Lions have yet to
play at a consistent level.
Last year's contest was one of
the few bright spots of the Michi-
gan season, but Carr knows that
game means nothing.
"I've always believed that the
idea of what happened last year
is, with very, very few exceptions,
a dead dog" Carr said. "It doesn't
matter whether you won. It doesn't
matter whether you lost. It's really
about the concentration that you
have on this game this week."
Having lost star quarterback
Michael Robinson to graduation,
Paterno turns to Anthony Morelli,
who looked good at times this
season. While a Robinson-less
team may not scare many Big
Ten opponents on paper, the Nit-
tany Lions (2-1, 4-2) return two
dynamic sophomores - wide
receiver Derrick Williams and
wide receiver/cornerback Justin
King. Along with that duo, run-
ning back Tony Hunt has racked
up yards on the ground. He's aver-
aging 111.5 yards per game.
"They have probably more
speed at the skill positions than
anyone we've played this year,
and a quarterback that gets better
every game," Carr said. "So Penn
State, offensively, gives you a lot
The Wolverines' key to offensive
successhas been the running game.
Junior running back Mike Hart has
paced the Michigan offense, aver-
aging 132.3 yards per game;
But the Penn State defense
fields the best set of linebackers
that Michigan has seen this sea-
son. Featuring defending Bednarik
Award winner Paul Posluszny, the
Nittany Lion defense has allowed
just two teams to rush for more.
than 100 yards against them.
"Their linebackers certainly
have a lot of talent with Posluszny,"
Henne said. "He was an award-
winner last year. (Junior linebacker)
Dan Connor is just as good."
The Michigan offense has
gone to the air more in recent
weeks. But tomorrow, Henne
won't have his trusty sidekick
Manningham. Instead, Michi-
gan will look to either redshirt
sophomore Adrian Arrington or
fifth-year senior Steve Breaston
to step up as a deep threat.
In the past three games,
Arrington has continued to get
comfortable in the offense. He
caught two touchdown passes
against Minnesota and picked up
one acrobatic score against Michi-
"Right now, there are no wor-
ries," Breaston said. "Everybody's
doing something, and they're doing
something to contribute to winning
Junior Chad Henne will play in his home state of Pennsylvania for the first time in his collegiate career tomorrow.
time finding room to run. Michi-
gan ranks No. 1 in the nation in
rushing defense, and opponents
average just 1.7 yards per carry
and 40.3 yards per game on the
ground. Meanwhile, running
back Tony Hunt, with 669 yards
in six games this season, leads
the Penn State rushing attack.
But the Wolverine defense wants
to make the opposing offense
one-dimensional, and they
should succeed against the Nit-
tany Lions' rushing attack.
Michigan passing defense vs,
Penn State passing offense
This season, the Wolverine
secondary has yet to find con-
sistency. Both Minnesota and
Michigan State moved the ball
through the air with relative ease.
But Morgan Trent returned last
week against the Spartans, so the
Michigan secondary should be
more stabilized. With first-year
starter Anthony Morelli leading
the Penn State offense, the Nit-
tany Lion passing game has been
inconsistent at best. Still, speedy
receivers Derrick Williams and
Deon Butler have helped Penn
State average 215.3 passing yards
Edge: Penn State
Michigan punter Zoltan
Mesko has improved for the
Wolverines. With his punts
booming farther and higher than
in the first few games, Mesko
has pinned opposing teams deep
in their own end. Meanwhile,
kicker Garrett Rivas started
strong this season but missed
a short field goal against Min-
nesota. For Penn State, kicker
Kevin Kelly has struggled, mak-
ing just 12-of-17 attempts. Out-
side of 30 yards (where all of his
misses are), Kelly can't seem to
find any kind of consistency.
Last year, Michigan ruined
Penn State's perfect season.
Now the Wolverines travel to
Beaver Stadium to face a team
looking for payback. Nerves
could very well be a factor for
Henne and Breaston, especially
early in the game.
Those nerves could be just
enough to give Penn State the
momentum it needs to win the
Edge: Penn State
Penn State 20, Michigan 17
PENN STATE 21
Before every football game
this season, two of the Daily's
football writers will take the
weekend's matchup to the Play-
Station 2 and then let you know
" Play of the game - With
Michigan clinging to a one-point
lead and less than a minute to
go, Penn State drove it to the
Wolverine 23-yard-line. But
Penn State coach Scott Bell
wasn't satisfied with the field
position and aired it out, allow-
ing Michigan CB #5 to come up
with the clinching interception.
" Player of the game - CB #5
stepped up after replacing CB
#14 - who was burned repeat-
edly in the first half. CB #5
broke up a few passes, picked
off one, and forced a fumble.
Penn State coach Scott Bell:
"First, I would like to congratulate
coach Singer on a big win."
"I'm not here to make excuses, I'm
above whining like that. ... But if I
were to make excuses, I'd certainly
bring up the faulty controller given
to me by coach Singer that caused
four straight offsides penalties and
an ill-advised pitch by HB #26 to
an offensive lineman. But like I
said, I don't complain about trivial
stuff like that."
"A sore loser? Me? (Wipes tears
from eyes.) I am not a sore loser."
Michigan coach Matt Singer:
"Some might say that we got a
few lucky breaks. But it takes
a championship team to take
advantage of those opportunities,
and today, that's what we did."
"ROLB #56 is hereby stripped of
his captaincy. Celebrating a sack
by doing push-ups is unacceptable
- especially on 4th-and49 in the
last minute of a tight game."
"I don't think my reaction to that
play was over the top. I'm an
emotional coach. Shrieking like a
little girl is completely appropriate
behavior, I think."
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