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Ken said:
Yeah, we've both had our share of hope and disappointment in this game. Let's just hope for a good b...
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Glad to see you'll be back writing football again, Ken! Congrats on the easy win today. You didn't ...
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College Football 2021: Week 9 Recap and Week 10 Preview
Wednesday, 2021 November 3 - 4:19 pm
Valiant efforts by Michigan and Penn State fall short; NC State pulls out a win.

Michigan 33, Michigan State 37
It's easy to look at this as yet another Harbaugh failure against a top ten team and a rival, but man... how do you explain:
  • a strip-sack-fumble-touchdown that was wrongly overturned by video replay
  • sure-handed Blake Corum dropping a wheel route pass (which I'd been clamoring for most of the year) that could have been a touchdown
  • several inexplicable pass interference calls, in key moments, that didn't go Michigan's way, both on defense and offense
  • Cade McNamara having to leave the game briefly for an injury during the waning critical moments, leaving J.J. McCarthy to come in and... fumble the game away
Sure, yes. The defensive game plan against Walker failed. Michigan fell for MSU trickery. The offense seemed to run into stacked fronts a lot. But McNamara had a career day, throwing for a ridiculous 383 yards, and in the end Michigan outgained MSU 552-395. Without the turnovers and the bad officiating, the game turns out differently, period.

Of course I'm disappointed in the outcome. But I'm not despairing like I would have in previous years. This is still an immensely talented Michigan team, ranked #7 in the CFP, with a realistic chance of winning out and perhaps making the playoff (even without a Big Ten title). Yes, I'm even slightly hopeful about the Ohio State game, and I know that sounds crazy, but I think Michigan can play with just about everyone. MSU was better than I thought, so credit to them; but Michigan outplayed them for a good chunk of the game.

And hey, maybe this win catapults Mel Tucker to the LSU job, so we'll be done with him.

#7 Michigan vs. Indiana, 7:30 PM Fox
An angry, angry Michigan team playing at home, at night, against a struggling Indiana team? That might be just what the doctor ordered. Indiana's top two quarterbacks were injured last week. Penix, with an AC joint separation, is doubtful for this week; second stringer Jack Tuttle is questionable with a foot injury.

Frankly, it shouldn't matter all that much. Indiana is better than their 2-6 record suggests, but Michigan should be better than them top-to-bottom.

Prediction: Michigan 41, Indiana 16.

Penn State 24, Ohio State 33
I know, we don't believe in moral victories in football, but here's a game where Penn State played OSU close all game, with a realistic chance to win until a touchdown was wiped out by a penalty late in the fourth quarter; John Lovett appeared to score on a 70-yard play, but it was ruled that he went out of bounds on his own before re-entering the field to catch the ball. OSU went on to seal the game with a field goal.

Clifford threw for 361 yards. It's easy to imagine that if Penn State had any semblance of a rushing attack, and if they hadn't turned the ball over three times (once for a touchdown), the game could have gone the other way. Ohio State did a lot of damage with its offense, but with five minutes left in the first half, they'd only managed a field goal to that point. Ohio State only scored two offensive touchdowns in the game, and (just like Michigan against MSU) kicked four field goals. Penn State played past expectations, and that's encouraging for all of us.

Unfortunately, the reality is that Penn State is now well out of the Big Ten race, sitting with three conference losses. Even if they win out, it's very unlikely that Michigan, MSU, and OSU will all suffer two losses over the remaining four weeks. Going 3-1 over the closing stretch seems realistic, but we're probably looking at an 8-4 season and a mediocre bowl game. It's not a bad year but certainly not up to the lofty expectations from the pre-season.

Questions loom about James Franklin's future, not because Penn State is unhappy with him, but he's been discussed for the USC and LSU openings. I think he'd be better off staying put, but the rumors are getting louder.

Penn State at Maryland, 3:30 PM FS1
Penn State can't overlook Maryland, who at 5-3 is tied with Penn State in the Big Ten East. However, Maryland was absolutely demolished by Iowa, Ohio State, and Minnesota. They scraped out a win against a hapless Indiana team. But this is a classic let-down game for PSU, sandwiched between an emotional loss to OSU and a potentially season-saving game against Michigan.

Is quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa for real? He threw for 419 yards against Indiana, and he's throwing at a 67% completion rate in conference play, so signs point to yes. He even had 279 yards against Ohio State, though he did throw two picks in that game. Where Maryland has trouble is in the rushing game; it is non-existent against good defenses.

It's a game that PSU should win, but then again, so was the Illinois game. But I think the matchups play to Penn State's strengths, and so while the game might look scary for a while, I think the Lions will pull it out.

Prediction: Penn State 30, Maryland 21.

N.C. State 28, Louisville 13
This game looked really ugly going into the fourth quarter. State trailed 10-7 and looked incapable of moving the ball, especially on the ground. But Denis Leary exploded in the fourth quarter, leading the Wolfpack to three consecutive touchdown drives to put the game away.

The lack of a running attack is becoming a real problem. State won't be able to rely on Leary heroics to rescue them every week. There are four tough opponents coming to close the season: any outcome from 0-4 to 4-0 is possible.

#19 N.C. State at Florida State, 4:00 PM ACCN
N.C. State is just a 2.5 point favorite in this game. FSU looked terrible early in the season but has been improving, with wins over Syracuse and UNC and a close loss to Clemson. They're still not a good team, but this will be a game State has to take seriously, especially on the road.

The FSU defense should yield points to N.C. State. It will probably come down to a question of whether State can sustain drives and get into the end zone. If so, I don't think FSU's offense is consistent enough to keep pace. But if the NCSU running game doesn't find any traction, the game will be worrisome.

Prediction: N.C. State 24, Florida State 19.

Notable Results
#1 Georgia trounced Florida 34-7. #2 Cincinnati trailed briefly against lowly Tulane but came back to win 31-12. Wisconsin crushed #9 Iowa 27-7; Wisconsin looks more and more legit, Iowa less and less so. #18 Auburn beat #10 Ole Miss 31-20. #11 Notre Dame held off UNC 44-34. Mississippi State upset #12 Kentucky 31-17. #16 Baylor beat Texas 31-24.

Miami knocked off #17 Pitt 38-34, throwing the ACC Coastal race wide open. Houston upset #19 SMU 44-37. Fresno State handed Brady Hoke and San Diego State their first loss, winning 30-20. West Virginia upset #22 Iowa State 38-31.
Purdue extended Nebraska's misery, winning 28-23.

Games to Watch on TV
At noon, #5 Ohio State is at Nebraska on Fox. Redemption for Nebraska? Probably not, but good luck to them. #9 Wake Forest is at UNC on ABC; this might be a real test for the Deacons.

At 3:30 PM, the Penn State at Maryland game is on FS1. #3 Michigan State plays at Purdue on ABC. Purdue is a dangerous opponent, so this might be one to watch. I'll go ahead and call this the Game of the Week because there aren't many more interesting games going on. #13 Auburn is at #14 Texas A&M on CBS; this is sadly the only matchup of two ranked teams this week. At 4:00 PM, the #19 NCSU at FSU game is on ACCN.

At 7:00 PM, LSU is at #2 Alabama on ESPN. Tennessee plays #18 Kentucky on ESPN2. At 7:30 PM, the Michigan-Indiana game is on Fox. #4 Oregon is at Washington on ABC. Texas is at Iowa State on FS1.
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