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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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CFB 2023: Week 7 Recap and Week 8 Preview
Wednesday, 2023 October 18 - 6:19 pm
Michigan and Penn State win in blowouts; N.C. State gets destroyed by Duke.

Michigan 52, Indiana 7
No doubt there was some nervous clenching as Michigan's offense sputtered at the start, with J.J. McCarthy getting sacked on both of Michigan's opening drives, resulting in 3-and-outs. Meanwhile Indiana had some success against Michigan's base defense early. With a new offensive coordinator calling the shots for Indiana, Michigan didn't know what to expect schematically and had to learn on-the-fly. On Indiana's third possession, Michigan was fooled by a double-pass trick play and suddenly Indiana was up 7-0, having outgained Michigan 136 to -8. Yikes.

But Michigan made some adjustments on defense and righted the ship, and Indiana would not score again. Meanwhile, the offense proceeded to score on its next eight possessions.

The Michigan defensive line remains stellar, but we also saw some promising play from LB Michael Barrett, which is an encouraging sign for the future. On offense, all three of Michigan's primary tight ends were outstanding. We saw extended involvement from backups like Benjamin Hall, Tyler Morris, and Semaj Morgan, who all also seem to have bright futures.

I think the defensive secondary is still the area of most concern. But having stars all the way across the defensive line will make up for some of that, as opposing quarterbacks simply won't have time to find open receivers downfield. It's quite a luxury to have defensive ends and defensive tackles that can effectively rush the quarterback; we haven't seen this at Michigan in quite some time.

Michigan at Michigan State, 7:30 PM NBC
Why is this a night game? So MSU fans can be even drunker and rowdier than usual? Sigh.

Michigan State is struggling this year, to say the least. Reeling from the firing of Mel Tucker over his sexual harassment scandal, MSU has lost its last four games. Last week MSU gave up an 18-point lead to Rutgers, thanks mostly to a fumbled snap by the punter (karma!) and a muffed kickoff return. Also notable: MSU had only 239 yards of offense; through the air, Katin Houser only threw for 4.6 YPA in his first start (Noah Kim was benched after the Iowa game). And MSU only ran for 2.6 YPA. It's hard to see this offense doing much damage against the Michigan defense.

The MSU defense has looked decent at time, but mostly against bad offenses. It should be noted they gave up 713 yards of offense to Washington earlier this year.

It's a rivalry game and all that, and you can expect MSU to throw every trick play in the book at Michigan, but in all likelihood this will be the same methodical annihilation we've seen all season.

Prediction: Michigan 29, MSU 9.

Penn State 63, UMass 0
It's UMass. I have absolutely no takeaways from this game, which was really just a glorified scrimmage.

Penn State at Ohio State, Fox 12:00 PM
So here it is, a mammoth showdown, with both teams undefeated and ranked in the top 10. Statistically, Penn State looks like the better team in all categories except in passing offense, where star OSU wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. looks like a man among children sometimes. He's bailed out an OSU offense that has had a ton of trouble running the ball; I'd say the problem is largely with OSU's offensive line, who seem a step slow compared with previous years. They will likely continue to have trouble against Penn State's defense, which is the best in the country according to SP+.

OSU's defense is improved over last year, but Penn State has already faced a pretty decent defense in Iowa and dismantled it to the tune of 397 yards. But much will depend on Penn State's ability to throw the ball downfield; the dink-and-dunk offense that PSU has relied on for much of this year will probably not get it done. Drew Allar is throwing at an efficient 65.2% completion rate, but at only 6.9 YPA. Compare that to OSU QB Kyle McCord's 9.7 YPA, a number helped considerably by chunk plays to Marvin Harrison Jr.

I think this will be a boom and bust game; lots of drives ending with defensive stops, with scattered big plays on offense. Turnovers could be game-changers. I'd say this game is a tossup, but OSU might have a slight edge playing at home. I hope I'm wrong, but I think OSU wins a close one.

Prediction: Penn State 20, Ohio State 24.

N.C. State 3, Duke 24
Duke pulled out this win despite backup QB Henry Belin IV only completing four passes. One of those passes, though, was a 69-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Duke's other two touchdowns: a one-play, 8-yard drive after an M.J. Morris interception, and a one-play, 83-yard run. You could say that minus a few big plays, State's defense didn't play terribly. Really, the problem was the offense, which couldn't sustain drives and failed to have any big plays of its own. Penalties were part of the problem; State had 11 of them for 87 yards.

State has a bye next week, which will give them extra time to prepare for Clemson on the 28th. That will be another difficult test. With Miami and UNC also still on the schedule, State might have to get wins against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech just to get bowl-eligible this year.

Last Week's Notable Results
  • #1 Georgia 37, Vanderbilt 20. I only mention this game because Georgia' star TE Brock Bowers went down with a high ankle sprain; this may hurt their chances down the stretch as they face three ranked teams in November.
  • #7 Washington 36, #8 Oregon 33. Another instant classic; wildly entertaining. Michael Penix's Heisman stock has shot up.
  • #21 Notre Dame 48, #10 USC 20. A thorough dismantling; USC finds out you can't win on QB heroics alone.
  • #11 Alabama 24, Arkansas 21. Struggling against mediocre opponents bodes poorly for Alabama's playoff hopes.
  • #12 UNC 41, #25 Miami 31. UNC continues to impress.
  • Pitt 38, #14 Louisville 14. A surprising upset.
  • #15 Oregon State 36, #18 UCLA 24. Might be another messy Pac-12 race.
  • Arizona 44, #19 Washington State 6. Where on earth did Arizona come from?
  • Rutgers 27, Michigan State 24. Lol Sparty.
  • Iowa 15, Wisconsin 6. Iowa wins despite being outgained 332-237 and only getting 2.6 YPA passing.
Next Week's Big Ten Games
  • #7 Penn State at #3 Ohio State, 12:00 PM Fox
  • Rutgers at Indiana, 12:00 PM BTN
  • Minnesota at #24 Iowa, 3:30 PM NBC
  • Wisconsin at Illinois, 3:30 PM FS1
  • Northwestern at Nebraska, 3:30 PM BTN
  • #2 Michigan at Michigan State, 7:30 PM NBC
Other Games to Watch
  • Washington State at #9 Oregon, 3:30 PM ABC
  • #17 Tennessee at #11 Alabama, 3:30 PM CBS
  • #16 Duke at #4 Florida State, 7:30 PM ABC
  • #14 Utah at #18 USC, 8:00 PM Fox
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