For Penn State — Execute on big plays. Penn State aims to run at least eight explosive plays — of 20 yards or more — per game. If the Nittany Lions can’t get the running game going and can’t move the ball consistently, the next best thing is to be great sporadically. Penn State has much more explosive play potential than it showed against Northwestern. Michigan has allowed 27 plays of 20 yards or more so far. Hitting those plays will also hush what should be an angst-ridden crowd desperate for something good to happen.
For Michigan — Rough up No. 14. The more time Christian Hackenberg spends on his back, rather than in the pocket making throws, the better for the Wolverines. Especially since the Nittany Lions have to count on Hackenberg’s arm so routinely. As long as Michigan keeps Hackenberg from establishing a rhythm, Penn State’s offense will likely struggle to move the chains.