The Michigan football team has had some issues this season. Bad habits have shown up at bad times, and with the team facing Penn State this weekend, those habits can’t show up.
Michigan Football Bad Habits
Fumble Trouble Returns
Last week I wrote how Michigan struggled to find consistencies. It’s worth mentioning, however, that they have also found struggles consistently. After staying clean against Rutgers and Iowa, the fumble bug bit again. The Wolverines dropped the ball three times, losing two of them against Illinois. Michigan has fumbled seventeen times this season and lost nine of them.
Apart from dropping the ball, Michigan also struggled to play a full four quarters. They led 28-0 with two minutes left in the first half. Two minutes into the fourth quarter and the Illini had tallied up 25 unanswered points. It felt as if Rich Rodriguez had snuck onto the sidelines.
After the clock ticked into the fourth quarter, the Michigan defense came back, likely after some intense yelling by Don Brown. Illinois had three possessions for the rest of the game, that totaled -21 yards. If not for the third quarter hiatus, the Wolverines likely come out of Champagne smelling like roses. Instead, the doubts continue as they face a huge road test against Penn State.
Michigan Football: How Do They Upset PSU?
There’s plenty of doubt for Michigan’s matchup this week, rightfully so. Everything seems stacked against them. Fumble-itus has returned, it’s a whiteout at night, on the road, and the Nittany Lions are a top ten opponent. The Illini were a poor enough opponent that Michigan could afford to make mistakes, not now. Put the ball on the grass, stall offensive drives, have the defense go MIA, and you lose. Michigan will need to play a complete game on both sides of the ball. Something it hasn’t done since Rutgers, and well, that’s Rutgers.
If Michigan wants a top ten road win, Penn State might be the best chance they’ve had since OSU in 2016. The Nittany Lions haven’t played a tougher team yet. It’s easier said than done, however. The game plan is simple. Come out swinging, score early and take the crowd out of it, and keep the defensive pressure up. The Wolverines will need to create some space early, and stop fumbling. If they can’t do that, the season gets ugly in Happy Valley.