Non-Top 10 Michigan teams are 5-1 against Top 10 PSU teams

Submitted by SpikeFan2016 on October 15th, 2017 at 2:46 PM

Pretty incredible statistic if you think about it.

When Michigan is NOT in the Top 10 and Penn State IS in the Top 10, we have a 5-1 record against the Nittany Lions with our only loss to them being Rich Rod's 3-9 team in 2008, when #3 Penn State beat unranked Michigan 46-17. These weren't fringe Top 10 UM teams either; none of the 5 Michigan wins came when Michigan was in the Top 15, their average ranking was below where we will be this week at #19. 


  • 2007: Unranked Michigan defeats #10 Penn State 14-9 
  • 2005: Unranked Michigan defeats #8 Penn State 27-25
  • 1999: #16 Michigan defeats #6 Penn State 31-27
  • 1998: #22 Michigan defeats #9 Penn State 27-0
  • 1993: #18 Michigan defeats #7 Penn State 21-13

Overall, Michigan is 6-2 against Top Ten Penn State teams, including a 3-1 record in Happy Valley. 

The teams have only met twice with both in the Top Ten (both were actually Top 5 matchups), with PSU taking a victory in The Big House in 1994 and Michigan throttling the Nittany Lions on Judgment Day in 1997 at Beaver Stadium. 


Obviously, none of this has any direct bearing on Saturday's game; but it has certainly been done before. With a defense like ours, we have a chance, even if it's not a big one. Let's not give up hope yet. 





October 15th, 2017 at 5:41 PM ^

I feel like Michigan just need to not have bounces go against them. They have been pretty unfortunate  with the turnover luck this year. I cant remember them recovering one of their own fumbles and have had several tipped passes turn into int's as well.

I feel they can shut barkley down again, which will lead to stoping that offense. Not having the "bunces" go the other way when on offense should be the key if we shut barkley down.


October 15th, 2017 at 5:49 PM ^

I feel like Mcsorley is going to make a few really bad decisions because he has all year when the line gives up pressure. Indy shut them down for most of the game and really outplayed them for 3 quarters. The box score does not indicate this because PSU housed the opening kick, then housed a fumbled punt return and got the ball at the 30 to start another drive. All within the first 6 or so minutes of the game. However, they go to Mcsorley often early in the game and they guy cracked. He either took a bad sack, throw it a bad pass that was not caught , or through a bad pass that was caught... by the other team.

I think Michigan will cause a few turnovers in this game and cause Mcsorley to run for his life a bunch.


October 15th, 2017 at 3:01 PM ^

I think it is foolish to both A) think a win is probable this week, and B) think that we can't win this game.


In two games against us, Saquon Barkley is averaging 18.5 touches on offense (15 carries and 3.5 receptions) for 111.5 yards (63.5 rushing and 48 receiving) and no touchdowns. I said in another post that if we can hold Barkley to 110 yards of offense and win the turnover battle, we can certainly win this game. Iowa didn't hold Barkley at all and still should have won. We will be the best defense that they have played by 21 spots in S&P+. 


We probably have to play our best game yet, but this game is winnable.


Edit: and if you believe that turnovers are truly random, then we are due to win the turnover battle. So there's that.


October 15th, 2017 at 4:07 PM ^

Very winnable game for Michigan.  Michigan is a good but still flawed team, but they'll be playing a good team that has flaws of their own.  Said flaws can be exploited.

On turnovers though ---- if turnovers are truly random (I sort of think they are), Michigan certainly is not "due to win the turnover battle."  Las Vegas was built on the backs of people that thought they were "due."  :-)


October 15th, 2017 at 4:16 PM ^

Michigan is due to win the turnover battle in the sense that, Penn State is ahead of their expected turnover margin and we are behind ours. Our turnover luck is currently costing us 10 points per game, while Penn State's is netting almost 4ppg. Now, you'd expect this to even out over the remainder of the season, but you could use these numbers to reasonably predict that Michigan will come out ahead in turnovers this weekend, and receive some help on the scoreboard because of it.


All of this is based on Bill C's numbers. If I am interpreting turnover randomness wrong, let me know. I may be.


October 15th, 2017 at 5:07 PM ^

Sure, Penn State has had "good turnover luck" thus far.  But that's history.  Those particular "random numbers" cannot be changed.

Say I flip a coin (that is truly random and unbiased) 20 times.  The most likely aggregate outcome is 10 heads.

However, let's say after the first 10 flips, I have 7 total heads.  

At this point, the most likely aggregate outcome is 12 heads.  It is not 10 heads.


October 15th, 2017 at 11:00 PM ^

However if turnovers are truly random, they will be this week, too. "The dice have no memory." They don't balance out on a week to week basis.

But anyway, let us hope that the turnovers against MSU, and the penalties against Indiana, are abberations and not indicative of the true nature of this year's team.

No doubt, turnovers will be a point of emphasis for both teams practicing this week. For one, the excitement level for players on Saturday night will be especially high. The way to beat Michigan is to defense the run and make them go the length of the field, which Michigan's offense is unlikely to be able to do. Ditto for any offense going against Michigan's defense. So unfortunately- unfortunate because I believe Michigan has to start throwing deep more often, even if that means taking chances- this is likely to be a field postion game.


October 15th, 2017 at 3:07 PM ^

Prediction...we get a pick six and a field goal off a turnover and win 10 - 6. Record goes to 6 - 1.

Maybe it's because I can't forget the whooping we put on them last year, but I don't think PSU is a top 5 team.


October 15th, 2017 at 3:15 PM ^

I think we win this one in the most satisfying way possible...with major plays coming from former Penn State commits. I think we get big turnovers from Lavert Hill and Khaleke Hudson, and I think Quinn Nordin hits 3 FGs in a 16-14 win. Hell, maybe Mike Dwumfour adds a sack or a big 3rd down stuff.


We spoil PSU's season, a la 2005, and Harbaugh recruiting/sleepover jokes abound.


October 15th, 2017 at 3:10 PM ^

And the world no longer makes any dang sense, here's one fan's prediction of chaos.
Michigan will torch Penn State through the air because PSU loads the box against Higdon. Meanwhile, every one of Barkley's arm punts will land in the receivers' hands, and Michigan wins in a shootout.
Bouyed by this game, Michigan goes on a tear, winning the rest of the schedule. However, Sparty stumbles through the rest of the B1G schedule losing only one game, and goes to the Championship Game on the head to head tie breaker. Then Michigan craps the bed in the Bowl game, and we're all wondering if this season's 11-2 is progress over last season's 10-3.
College football, man. Why don't I just play roulette where the greens are a shot of tasty fruit juice, the reds are a spoonful of ipecac, and the two zeros are a sharp stick in the eye.

SD Larry

October 15th, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

well historically as an underdog at least against the spread.  Agree with the comment we are due to win the turnover battle.  Feel like we have a good shot with our defense and think there is a good chance our offense will perform better this week for a variety of reasons.  I also think there is an excellent chance JOK will hit at least one long play action TD pass this week, and our TE's will be more involved.


October 15th, 2017 at 4:50 PM ^

It sucks that we didn't play PSU when they had their 3 or 4 win teams but they were on our schedule when we were shit, we would have even a couple more Ws against those pricks


October 15th, 2017 at 8:48 PM ^

We got a great chance to win. Defense comes up big. Offense does enough to score some points. Streaks like this tend to keep going. Bet the underdog to win


October 16th, 2017 at 3:39 AM ^

The only explanation for having high expectations to win this game is extreme "homerism." As good as our defense is, it's safe to assume PSU will still score somewhere between 20-30 points. That's half their season average (50) and about a touchdown more than we're giving up (17). Do you really think our offense can produce more than that? If you do, what are you basing it on? Every week we expect our offense to finally "click." When do we finally admit that it's just not a good offense? Back-up QB, decent RB's, mediocre OL, and no playmakers on the outside. That's not an accusation, just the reality. Couple that with one of the toughest road night!? C'mon guys. Chances of winning have to be less around 10%. 


October 16th, 2017 at 7:57 AM ^

PSU is a 10.5 favorate and for some reason I think one of two things happen: 1) this is a tight game and Michigan eeks out a win. PSU underestimates UM it's a sludgefest on both sides and the ball bounces UM's way. OR 2) UM gets punished. I'm talking about getting their shit pushed in kind of punished. 31-10 type of game where the defense finally shows it's youth and can't hold up. 

I'd put my vote on #2 unfortuatnely. This game has potentially upset written all over it but upsets are upsets for a reason...they don't happen often. 

I live right in Columbus, OH and I'll be flying my flag proudly either way.