Michigan football

No. 2 Penn State vs. No. 19 Michigan: Defensive struggle with huge stakes

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

No. 2 Penn State vs. No. 19 Michigan: Defensive struggle with huge stakes

No. 2 Penn State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 19 Michigan (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten)
Beaver Stadium, State College
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Scouting Penn State
The second-ranked Nittany Lions were idle last week, after beating Northwestern, 31-7, on Oct. 7, as Trace McSorley went 25 for 34 for 245 yards and two touchdowns. McSorley, taking advantage of a defense stacked in an attempt to limit the effectiveness of star running back Saquon Barkley, completed a school-record 15 straight passes in one stretch. Barkley, while held to 75 yards on the ground, did break off a 53-yard touchdown run, one of two scores he had in the game. He leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game (217.0). The Lions, who are also atop the nation in scoring defense (9.0), are led on that side of the ball by linebacker Jason Cabinda and safety Marcus Allen with 40 and 35 tackles, respectively. Fourteen players have had a hand in a sack, and 26 have been part of a tackle for loss.

Scouting Michigan
The No. 19 Wolverines beat Indiana 27-20 in overtime last week, on a 25-yard run by Karan Higdon. Higdon finished with 25 carries for 200 yards and three TDs, all career highs, and to date has rushed for 401 yards (5.7 a carry). Quarterback John O’Korn, who has taken over for the injured Wilton Speight, was just 10 for 20 for 58 yards against the Hoosiers. He has clicked on 54.9 percent of his throws, for 563 yards and a touchdown, and has been picked off four times. UM has allowed the fewest yards per game in the FBS this season (223.8), and while middle linebacker Devin Bush is fourth in the Big Ten in tackles (49) and second in sacks (5), the key to the Wolverines’ D is Maurice Hurst, an eyeblink-quick defensive tackle.

History
Michigan leads the all-time series 13-7 and has won the last three meetings. The Wolverines routed the Lions last year in Ann Arbor, 49-10, in the most one-sided game ever between the two teams. PSU has gone 15-1 since.

Storyline to watch
It’s pretty simple: In a game that has “defensive struggle” written all over it, which offense can gain traction? And which team can avoid a killer mistake? 

What’s at stake
A PSU victory sets up a showdown against No. 6 Ohio State next weekend in Columbus.

Prediction
Penn State 21, Michigan 13.

Ohio State comes back, beats Michigan, 30-27, in double OT thriller

Ohio State comes back, beats Michigan, 30-27, in double OT thriller

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-1 and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime Saturday to win one of the greatest games in the history of one of college football's greatest rivalries.

Facing fourth-and-1 from the 16, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer decided not to kick a potential game-tying field goal with a kicker who had already missed two short ones in regulation.

J.T. Barrett kept it on fourth down and slammed into the back of his blocker, A.J. Alexander, right at the line to gain. The first-down call stood up to video review.

"That was not a first down," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I'm bitterly disappointed with the officiating today."

On the next play, Samuel, who had made a swerving, change-of-direction run to set up the fourth-and-1, found a lane and raced into the end zone to win it.

The scarlet-clad crowd soon covered the field. The first game to go to overtime in the 113-game history of the rivalry likely eliminated Michigan from the playoff race and could have locked up a spot for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes will have to wait until Penn State plays to find out if they will play for the Big Ten title. Still, they added to a resume that already was impressing the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Michigan could end up in the Rose Bowl, but the biggest prizes are still eluding the Wolverines in their second year under coach Jim Harbaugh, who dropped to 0-2 against Meyer and the Buckeyes. Michigan has not won the Big Ten since 2004.

But if this is just the start of a new Ten Year War for Michigan and Ohio State, with Meyer and Harbaugh playing the roles of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, there is much for to look forward to for college football fans.

Ohio State wiped out a 10-point third-quarter deficit and dominated the fourth quarter, but Tyler Durbin missed a 20-yard field goal to tie it with 7:01 remaining.

Barrett and the Buckeyes gave him another chance, this time from 23 yards with a second left in regulation and Durbin nailed it.

Barrett scored on a quarterback draw and Ohio State's first possession of OT to give the Buckeyes the lead, but Michigan tied it on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh.

Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins argue over Michigan-OSU game

Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins argue over Michigan-OSU game

The anticipation of Saturday's matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan has not escaped the Eagles' locker room.

Earlier this week, Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, who played his college ball at Michigan, got caught in some trash talk with Browns' wide receiver Terrell Pryor, a former Buckeye. Now, Graham is jawing with teammate Malcolm Jenkins, another Ohio State product. Graham and Jenkins actually played against each other in the rivalry in 2006, the last time Ohio State and Michigan were both ranked in the Top 5 when they faced each other.

CSN's Derrick Gunn caught up with the teammates ahead of today's huge rivalry game. Not surprisingly, things got a little heated between the two, who have a friendly wager on the line for the game. If Ohio State wins, Graham has to wear Buckeyes gear, but if Michigan wins, Jenkins will have to sport a Wolverines jersey.

Graham and Jenkins won't be the only ones in the Philadelphia area keeping an eye on the the game Saturday. The Penn State faithful will be watching closely and rooting for Jenkins' Buckeyes. If Ohio State wins, Penn State can earn a spot in the Big 10 championship with a win against Michigan State later in the day. The Nittany Lions haven't won a conference title since 2008 and haven't played in the conference title game since it began in 2011.

Watch the video above for more.