STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s time for one of the most anticipated games of the season as #9 Penn State takes on its Big Ten rival #2 Michigan this Saturday at noon in Beaver Stadium.

This is a must-win in the eyes of Penn State fans for Head Coach James Franklin. Franklin has many achievements at the helm of the Nittany Lions, but when it comes to ranked opponents such as Michigan, the program has struggled. With this season’s loss to No. 3 Ohio State, fans are even more hungry to see a ranked win from Penn State.

Franklin is currently 3-16 against top-10 programs and has yet to lead the team to a top-10 road win.

Against Michigan, Penn State owns a losing 10-16 record dating back to 1993. On top of that, the Nittany Lions are also on a two-game losing streak to the Wolverines.

Last time out

Penn State (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten)

The Nittany Lions just topped the Maryland Terrapins 51-15 last Saturday in an away matchup.

Drew Allar was 25 for 34 for 240 yards and four touchdowns. Allar rushed four times for 39 yards. Backup quarterback Beau Pribula saw action and went 1 for 4 for 6 yards and rushed nine times for 12 net yards.

Kaytron Allen was the top rusher with 91 yards on 14 attempts and 1 touchdown. KeAndre Lambert-Smith led the receiving game with 8 receptions for 95 yards along with Dante Cephas who had 6 receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, Abdul Carter posted 6 tackles (4 solo) with one tackle for a loss and one sack.

Penn State had a 47% success rate on third down and held Maryland to a 33% success rate.

Although Penn State executed well and secured the win over Maryland, the Terrapins were not a ranked opponent.

Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten)

Michigan topped Purdue 41-13 last Saturday with quarterback J.J. McCarthy going 24 for 37 for 335 yards. McCarthy was sacked three times in the contest.

Running back Blake Corum was the top rusher, gaining 44 yards for Michigan on 15 attempts with three touchdowns. Wide receiver Roman Wilson was the top receiver with 143 yards from 9 receptions. Michigan had no receiving touchdowns.

Defensive back Makari Paige led the defensive game with 8 tackles (3 solo).

Dissecting Michigan

With their undefeated record, the Michigan Wolverines are tied for first place in the Big Ten standings with Ohio State. They are ranked second in the country behind Georgia in the AP Top 25 poll. They are a threat.

Head Coach James Harbaugh is in his ninth year at the helm of Michigan. During his tenure, Harbaugh has led Michigan to back-to-back Big Ten Championships and saw them to the College Football Playoffs in 2021 and 2022. Last season, Michigan won 13 games under Harbaugh, setting a new school record for the most wins in a single season.

Michigan is averaging 40.67 points per game and has held its opposition to just 6.67 points per game on average. The Wolverines have a 55.56% success rate on third down and have held their opponents to a 29.41% success rate.

Junior quarterback, McCarthy boasts a 75.3 completion percentage and is averaging 237.1 passing yards per game. McCarthy has 21 touchdowns this year (3 rushing) and has thrown three interceptions.

Corum is Michigan’s top rusher and is averaging 72.11 rushing yards per game. Corum has scored 16 touchdowns for the Wolverines. Wilson leads the receiving game, averaging 65.4 receiving yards per game. Wilson has tallied 10 touchdowns for Michigan so far this season.

Linebacker Junior Colson leads the defense with 49 tackles (17 solo) and two tackles for a loss. Edges Josaiah Stewart and Jaylen Harrell each own a team-high 4.5 sacks. In total, Michigan has delivered 22 sacks this season.