Halftime Thoughts: Michigan

By Matthew Filipovits on November 3, 2018 at 5:20 pm
Sep 21, 2018; Champaign, IL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley (9) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

© Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

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The Nittany Lions are playing arguably their worst football of the year but still find themselves within striking distance of the Wolverines. Here are our thoughts at the half.

  • This team just keeps on making costly mistakes. An illegal block below the waist took a kick six off the board, an offsides penalty helped make a fourth down conversion much more manageable for the Wolverines, and a fumbled handoff jump off the page as the most costly. 
  • The Michigan defensive line is eating up the offensive line. It's not even like Don Brown is dialing up unique or overwhelming blitzes, his front four is just dominating Penn State's line.
  • Because the pressure has gotten to McSorley almost immediately, Trace McSorley has only been able to attempt ten passes, completing five of them. Not great.
  • The only thing worse than the passing offense? The running offense. The Nittany Lions have negative yards on 12 carries, which is a mostly a byproduct of all the sacks Michigan has racked up.
  • For all the struggles the offense has had, the defense has actually played pretty well. Karan Higdon was able to rip off a big run but outside of that, they've kept up with the Michigan defense.
  • Opportunities have been knocking but Penn State is not answering the door. McSorley missed a wide open Thompkins that would've led to six late in the half. That would have been a huge boost for the team heading into halftime.
  • Shea Patterson hasn't been all that impressive. The Nittany Lions are getting pressure on the quarterback but just can't finish the play. 
  • Penn State needs to wake up. They're lucky this is only a 14-point deficit and they'll need to find a way to get it to their playmakers to get back in it. 
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