The University of Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home Stadium: Michigan Stadium
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh (8-2, first season)
First Game: October 16, 1993 (Michigan won 21-13)
Last Game: October 11, 2014 (Michigan won 18-13)
Overall: Michigan leads series 11-7 (.389)
Current Streak: Michigan has won one game in a row (last Penn State win: 2013)
2015: 8-2 (5-1 Big Ten)
The Michigan Wolverines needed a new head coach for the 2015 season, and tapped Michigan Man Jim Harbaugh to replace Brady Hoke after Harbaugh's rocky ending as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. You are probably familiar with Jim Harbaugh. He buys khakis at Wal-Mart and he looks like he's going to murder officials every week. But you may not know that he is a successful football coach who nearly won a Super Bowl just a few years ago. It's true!
Since an opening loss at Utah, Harbaugh's had his team looking awfully good. They've won eight of their nine games since then, with their only loss coming in a shocking manner against Michigan State (more on that later). They beat Northwestern, 38-0. Yes, the same Northwestern that just beat Penn State a week and a half ago in Evanston. Of course, Michigan still needs to close the season out, with this game at Penn State and a home game against Ohio State still to go.
The Wolverines held on in a double overtime game at Indiana, winning 48-41. It was the best game of the season for redshirt senior quarterback Jake Rudock, who threw for 440 yards and six touchdowns on the day. Without that performance, Michigan might have been out of the race for the Big Ten East a couple of games earlier than expected.
Rudock is the starting quarterback, but more importantly their tight end is Jake Butt. He is second on the team in receiving yards behind wide receiver Amara Darboh, and wide out Jehu Chesson leads with seven receiving touchdowns. The primary running back is De'Veon Smith, though Rudock is not afraid to run the ball either.
The Wolverines, of course, are more known for their defense. The leading tacklers are senior linebackers Desmond Morgan and Joe Bolden. Morgan also has a sack, interception, and forced fumble on the season. The leading pass rushers are also a pair of seniors in defensive linemen Willie Henry and Chris Wormley, who have combined for 10 sacks in 2015. In the secondary, cornerback Jourdan Lewis has 18 pass breakups and two interceptions, while safety and former Penn State target Jabrill Peppers has 32 tackles and seven pass breakups.
Peppers is also the return man for both the kicking and punting units and has done a solid if not spectacular job in that role. The most memorable special teams play of the entire college football season was Michigan's botched punt against Michigan State, in which punter Blake O'Neill failed to get a punt away, fumbling it to the Spartans who returned it for the game winning touchdown as time expired. O'Neill has otherwise done a good job punting the ball. Kicker Kenny Allen has also been fair.
Log on to the web and make your way to Maize n Brew for Michigan coverage in the lead up to this week's game.