Michigan looks to spoil Penn State’s perfect season as they head to Happy Valley

Written by Kevin Drake
​After a week off Saquon Barkley and the No.2 ranked Nittany Lions host Michigan and their dominant run defense.  After losing their starting QB Wilton Speight, Michigan has had to rely on their dominant defense but with Speight out QB O’Korn has stepped up but he is still getting his feet wet and learning to handle the starting pressure, and that will be the case this Saturday with a tough matchup against Penn St.

Penn St and Heisman leading candidate Saquon Barkley look to keep their dominant year going by beating division rival Michigan. Barkley has been running through defenses this year. However, Michigan’s defense has been top notch only allowing 85.8 rush yards per game with Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary leading that charge but Barkley is one of a kind will this defense be able to contain him or will Barkley continue his dominant year and keep the Nittany Lions undefeated.

Speaking on his QB, Michigan coach John Harbaugh says “His talent, ability, experience,” are what stands out.

“The different qualities of quarterback play.” Harbaugh would add. “We went over it (with him) pretty thoroughly yesterday,  we look at it as all 11.  We’re trying to get all 11 on offense playing more precise.”

On his transition from Houston to Michigan O’Korn says “I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult transition, but it’s absolutely a transition.  I’ve had to adapt to the offense, and that’s something that I’ve been working on in the past. This is my third year here just a completely different style of offense. Probably a different style of play. Something that I’m continuing to work on.”

Penn St Coach James Franklin knows that there are two key players to Michigan’s well-known defense.

“Very disruptive, (I) went back and kind of researched (Hurst) a little bit, in terms of what people are saying about him, (they’re) saying he’s going to be a first-round pick, probably a top-10 pick, and it looks like that on tape.” Franklin continued on Hurst, “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his game and how he plays and the motor that he has. He’s an impressive guy to watch.”

Talking about Rashan Gary Franklin says, “we all know about him, an impressive athlete, a guy whose big as advertised and he’s 280 pounds.  When you watch (tape), he is a really, really good athlete. He flies around. So, we’ve got a challenge. Between, the combination of the style of defense that they play and the athletes that they’re playing.”

So with all eye’s on Saquon and the Michigan defense this game will have high stakes from beginning to end. With 108 rushing yards per game for Barkley, and 85.8 rush yards per game for Michigan’s defense, the Heisman front-runner will have to overcome one of the biggest tests of the season, but he won’t go down without a fight. However, neither will that defense. This game will either solidify Barkley’s Heisman case, or it could prove that Michigan’s defense is an immovable object.

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