UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. – Following a hard-fought road win over one ranked opponent, No. 7 Penn State will try to feed off an electric home environment to earn another when it hosts No. 16 Michigan in a "White Out" game Saturday night. "I tell people, literally, I'll have that eight seconds where I'm standing there in the tunnel and you see it and you hear it, but you literally feel it," Nittany Lions coach James Franklin told reporters of the vibe in front of 107,000 white-clad fans. "You literally feel it."
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Penn State -9
The much-anticipated contest comes on the heels of Penn State's 17-12 win at then-No. 18 Iowa, a game in which their dominant defense held the Hawkeyes out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter to help the Lions open 6-0 for the second time in three years. Penn State enters the week ranked second among FBS teams in scoring defense (8.2), fourth in total defense (259.7 yards per game) and tied for second in sacks (27). That will provide a big test for a Wolverines unit that has won three in a row, piling up 295 rushing yards in a 42-25 triumph at Illinois last week, and carries plenty of momentum into Happy Valley. "We certainly have that opportunity this week; we're going to prepare for it," coach Jim Harbaugh told the media. "There's an excitement to it; there's a bounce in the step of everyone on our team."
ABOUT MICHIGAN (5-1, 3-1 Big Ten)
Senior quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 194 yards and a season high-tying three touchdowns against the Fighting Illini. Sophomore Hassan Haskins led the dominant ground game with a personal-best 125 yards, while true freshman Zach Charbonnet (team-leading 376 yards) added 116. Senior linebacker Jordan Glasgow stands out for the defense with 47 tackles and four sacks, while junior lineman Kwity Paye - who missed last week's win with an injury but still ranks tied for first on the team with 4.5 sacks - could return for this one.
ABOUT PENN STATE (6-0, 3-0)
The Nittany Lions' revolving door at running back seems to have opened wide for freshman Noah Cain, who has recorded back-to-back 100-yard games and scored the decisive fourth-quarter touchdown at Iowa. "Noah is a downhill guy, very little indecision," Franklin told reporters. "He's always falling forward, and he continues to do great things. I'm really proud of him." Sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford had season lows in completions (12) and yards (117) against the Hawkeyes but ran for over 50 yards for the fourth time this year.
1. Nittany Lions sophomore WR KJ Hamler is tied for the Big Ten lead with five receiving touchdowns, including one in each of the last three games.
2. Wolverines junior WR Nico Collins (269 yards, two TDs) missed last week's game with an undisclosed injury but could return Saturday.
3. Michigan took four of the last five meetings, including a 42-7 rout at home last year.
PREDICTION: Penn State 23, Michigan 16