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Posted on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

Breaking down the Penn State-Michigan football game with David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News

By Michael Rothstein

A year ago, 13th-ranked Penn State came to Ann Arbor to play a Michigan football team sitting one win from bowl eligibility. The Nittany Lions, led by senior quarterback Daryll Clark, handily beat Michigan that day, 35-10.

Michigan didn't win a game the rest of the season.

Now, Michigan travels to Penn State on Saturday for an 8 p.m. game with the Nittany Lions, again one win away from going to a bowl. This time, though, Penn State is starting an inexperienced quarterback and has troubles of its own.

To figure out what's going on with Penn State, caught up with David Jones of the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News. His work can be found on

Q: Penn State has struggled this season. What would you say has been the Nittany Lions’ biggest issue?



David Jones: "They just weren't all that talented to begin with, their apparent QB candidate (Kevin Newsome) was so slow to pick up the offense in camp that they had to ditch him and start a true freshman (Robert Bolden) and they have suffered a ton of injuries, especially on defense."

Q: Will the night-time/Halloween atmosphere help Penn State? Why or why not?

DJ: "No. This team is slow on D. I don't see how drunken 19-year-olds in masks are going to affect that."

Q: When it comes to the Penn State offense, what has been the biggest issue for its inefficiency and how did it start?

DJ: "It really started when Pat Devlin and his parents chafed at not getting a start at Iowa in '08, after Daryll Clark suffered a concussion at Ohio State the preceding game. Devlin made up his mind then to transfer to Delaware (Joe Flacco U.), where he's currently tearing it up against FCS competition. That left PSU in the breach at QB. Kevin Newsome was never the answer. When Clark used up his eligibility after '09, they had no one to step in. Bolden is very poised and has a great release, but he has a substandard offensive line in front of him with a pair of converted guards trying to play tackle. He can't learn when he has no time. And now he's suffered a concussion at Minnesota. Further, Evan Royster has been listless and is STILL a handful of yards from the school career rushing record he was expected to break three weeks ago."

Q: Could this actually be Joe Paterno’s last year? And, if it is, would that serve as a motivational factor with this group?

DJ: "Yes ('Could.' Not 'is,' necessarily). And no, at least not until the Michigan State game."

Q: What’s the best-case/worst-case scenario for Penn State? In other words, what needs to happen for the Nittany Lions to win? How do they end up losing?

DJ: "They have to score more than 40 points on that horrible Michigan defense. I could actually see an over-under of about 75 in this game. Both defenses are tissue."

Q: How does Penn State deal with a supposedly-healthy Denard Robinson?

DJ: "Not elegantly. He could have another 503-yard game."

Michael Rothstein covers sports for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 5:50 a.m.

This PSU guy is sandbagging. Penn St is poor on D this year, but they still have good coaches. Look for them to stop the run and force Denard to go deep. And look for them to put up points. this will be a close one, but look at the bright side. If we lose we can start contract talks with Harbaugh.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Penn State is hard to figure. They don't have the same power that they have had during their best years, but their defense has not been bad. 24 points vs. Alabama AT alabama? They held Temple pretty low, and Temple has scored some this year. We'll see tomorrow how they do, but I don't expect PSU to roll over and play dead. They still owe us for more than a decade of futility and don't fool yourselves. JoeP will remind his team and be ready to go. Only problem is if he can't stay up through the end of the game LOL


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 7:57 p.m.

35-17 Michigan. Here's the game highlights:. Denard runs for 200. Run, Denard, run. Denard passes for 200. Throw, Denard, throw.. Bob the Kicker kicks 2 more out of bound. Tryouts are Monday.. Ray Vinopal has an interception. And a fumble. And a seat on the bench. Defend, Cam, defend.. Mike Martin spends more time in the PSU backfield than that Royster kid, because Royster spends his Saturday evening in UM's secondary. Carrying the ball. Can you say "mis-direction"?. Taylor Lewan pancakes whoever lines up across from him. Just after he hold him. And jumps offsides. Again and again.. But is doesn't matter, because UM is getting better, while Joe Pa is just getting older.. UM 35, PSU 17.. You heard it here first.

NC Wolverine 20

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

PSU is not nearly as bad as this guy makes them seem. This will be a very tough road game in which PSU is (or should be) favored. The good news is that a win should give UM confidence that they can win against good teams. BTW, didn't Kevin Newsome verbal to UM and then back out? Sounds like losing that recruit was a blessing.

Sean T.

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

Okay, I looked for game footage of PSU and they don't look that bad. If their QB play is efficient they will be tough to beat and they have only lost to good teams this year. (Especially teams with a real defense.) Here's to our only shot at making a bowl this year, Cheers!

Howard the Duck

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

Defense and Michigan should not appear in the same sentence.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

I really do believe that Michigan will outscore PSU in this game. And that is the only objective; if it is 39 - 38, I am fine with that. But we really owe one to Penn State after that 35 - 10 game in 2009. And if our defense steps up, we can beat PSU soundly.

Sean T.

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

Tell me about it! We may just get our second Big Ten win of the season. Lets hope. Go Blue


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

What commentary - Sounds like a glass half empty type of guy.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

This guy seems as confident with his team as most of the Michigan "fans" who write on these forums.