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Showdown at the Big House

Sep 22, 2007, 10:48 AM EDT

It’s a great weekend for Pennsylvania football fans who hate the state of Michigan, and there are a lot of you out there. At 3:30 today, two teams with a lot to prove will show up at the Big House in Ann Arbor, and at 1:00 tomorrow, the Eagles face a suddenly threatening Lions team. More on that later/tomorrow.

Penn State is off and running with a 3-0 record, outscoring opponents 135-34 in that time. Led by Strath Haven’s Dan Connor, their defense has met the massive hype and made games easy on the O. But Michigan is by far their toughest test so far, having owned the Nittany Lions since they joined the Big Ten in ’93. Before last week, the Wolverines looked awful, but you can bet they’ll be up for this one. They always get up for Penn State, and their only hope of even partially erasing their monumental embarrassment at the hands of Appalachian State is to win today and follow by winning out in the Big Ten.

Michigan will start either an overrated injured senior in Chad Henne or a freshman in Ryan Mallett. This may mean they’ll have to rely on their rushing game and Mike Hart, who has been one bright spot for the team so far. However, no one in the country has been better against the run than Penn State, who is letting up only 17.7 rushing yards per game so far. Add to that a nation’s best 17 sacks, and Michigan will have their hands full.

Hopefully JoePa will shake things up a bit and add a third play to the offense. Tony Morelli has to step up. Jordan Norwood has to continue to make big plays like that unbelievable TD catch last week. I’d feel better if this game were in Happy Valley, but I’m looking forward to hearing the sound of 110,000 shattered dreams.

(WhiteOut photo courtesy of  Tom Mairs and Lionphoto.com