5 reasons the Penn State Nittany Lions can upset the Michigan Wolverines
The Penn State Nittany Lions will host the Michigan Wolverines in Beaver Stadium on November 11th at noon. Penn State comes into the game with an 8-1 record and a 5-1 record in conference play, while the Wolverines will enter the game 9-0 with a 6-0 record in the Big 10. After a disappointment in their first big test of the season, there are reasons to think that Penn State has a chance to beat Michigan on Saturday.
1. Drew Allar is playing his best for the Penn State Nittany Lions
Drew Allar had the most yards in his career since week one against West Virginia, and he had more touchdowns in a win against Maryland last week. You can easily make the case that this was the best that Allar had ever played from start to finish. The timing is perfect with Michigan coming to town.
Allar has the physical traits but was holding something back early in the season. After an interception nearly cost the team the game against Indiana, Allar bounced back and won it with a deep pass that changed everything. It showed Allar that he can live more dangerously because the reward remains greater while the risk is there.
To be fair, Maryland's defense is not great, but Allar looked different. Now, he has to show this against Michigan.
2. The Nittany Lions are getting an emergence from Dante Cephas
One of the reasons Allar had more success was the emergence of transfer student Dante Cephas. Cephas was supposed to help take the passing game to a new level, but he averaged just 16 yards per game in the first eight games of the season. He had six catches for 53 yards against Maryland, the best game of his career with the Nittany Lions. Is it a coincidence that Allar started to play more loosely, and magically, his skill players came alive? Penn State could explode at the right time against Michigan.
3. Penn State can beat Michigan at home
The talk around James Franklin is that he cannot win the big one. He cannot beat the top ten teams. He is 1-9 against Ohio State but 3-6 against Michigan. Penn State was higher ranked in two of the three wins, and neither was ranked in the third win, but Franklin has fared much better against the Maize and Blue compared to the Scarlett and Gray. Some of that comes down to Ohio State being consistently better, but it can also be that Michigan struggles. Franklin is 2-2 against Michigan in Happy Valley and 1-4 on the road. Ohio State was on the road this year, and PSU hung tough. Now, at home, it is set up for a win.
4. Can Chop Robinson return for the Nittany Lions at the right time
Chop Robinson has missed the last two games after an upper-body injury against Ohio State. Penn State has won the previous two games, but the pass rush could use his juice, and he adds a big name to the rotation that makes everyone better. Robinson worked out pre-game on Saturday and looked like a game-time decision. The Nittany Lions held him out, knowing this game was much more significant. If Robinson comes back, and the defense shows improvement at the same time the offense finally takes off, we may have something.
5. Michigan has questions entering the game
We have to at least address the elephant in the room. There was a sign-stealing scandal when Michigan was off to its run of success. Michigan has kept winning since the news broke, but a test like Penn State on the road may test the will of this team. Distractions can happen, and PSU is motivated knowing they let one slip against Ohio State. If Michigan is not at its best, an upset will happen.