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|Hey Ken, thank you for the Penn State coverage this year! I tried to comment earlier but the captcha...|
|College Football 2019: Week 11 Preview||Tuesday, 2019 November 5 - 3:13 pm|
|Michigan wins a yawner over Maryland; N.C. State gets crushed. Michigan is on bye next; Penn State has a big game against Minnesota; N.C. State will likely get crushed again.|
Michigan 38, Maryland 7
Michigan jumped out to a 7-0 lead after returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the game seemed essentially over after Maryland went 3-and-minus-ten-yards-and-out and Michigan scored another touchdown on its next possession.
Maryland's only score of the game came on a kickoff return of their own. Maryland threatened on a couple of long drives but came up empty. It kind of seemed like a let-down game for Michigan, as the defense gave up some chunk plays and the offense had a few too many drives ending in punts.
Michigan ended up with a mediocre 331 yards of offense. Shea Patterson had a poor day throwing the ball, and it's hard to figure out the reason for that, as he had plenty of clean pockets to throw from. The running game was serviceable, but it seemed to take time for Michigan to adjust to Maryland's defensive scheme, which was to stack the box and freak out against pulling offensive linemen. A few more early counters and reverses would probably helped stem that approach.
On defense, it felt worse than it was. Maryland had a bunch of sustained drives, which I'd predicted given their talent at the offensive skill positions, but some of them were just clear busts by the defense. But 0 defensive points and 233 total yards against is still a ham-blasting, isn't it? The defensive line played well; the secondary, less so.
So I dunno, man. It was a clear step backwards from the Notre Dame performance, but I can see how going up 14-0 early would put the team into cakewalk mode.
Next week: Bye.
Michigan gets a bye before facing MSU on November 16th, and you can probably expect more focus for that game.
Penn State: Bye
Next week: #5 Penn State at #13 Minnesota, 12:00 PM ABC
Most of the time, I'd say a battle of two undefeated Big Ten teams would easily be the game of the week, but there's the little matter of the #1 and #2 teams also playing this week, so... no.
But it's still a huge game. Minnesota is 8-0, and it's not entirely a fluke. Sure, we had some weirdly close wins over the likes of Georgia Southern and Fresno State, but it's worth noting that GASO just knocked off undefeated App State, and Fresno State kept it close in an early season game against USC. Minnesota has offensive and defensive stats that are right on par with Penn State's, against admittedly worse competition, but still. Minnesota has blown out its first four Big Ten opponents and isn't a team to be taken lightly.
Minnesota under P.J. Fleck has a difficult-to-defend RPO-heavy offense that will punish a defense that overcommits to one thing over another. It'll be important for the Penn State secondary to be sound in coverage and in run fits here. It doesn't help that starting PSU DT Antonio Shelton is suspended for this game, after spitting on an MSU player two weeks ago.
Minnesota's defense hasn't really been tested by an offense of PSU's caliber, so it's hard to evaluate them there. The secondary looks fast and talented; I still don't see them keeping up against the likes of Hamler and Freiermuth.
As far as intangibles, Minnesota can be a weird place to play at, on the road. Saturday will probably be very cold and it might snow. That could cause some issues for both teams. If weather becomes a factor, this game will turn into a slog.
Prediction: Penn State 24, Minnesota 22.
N.C. State 10, Wake Forest 44
Welp. It's starting to look like a lost season for the Wolfpack, as the team will struggle to even get a bowl bid. Wake Forest is a good team, but a blowout loss to them puts N.C. State in the same league as Rice and Elon.
I probably won't have much more to say about State this year. I'll continue to follow their progress, but at this point, picking apart the reasons for losses seems a little depressing.
Next week: #4 Clemson at N.C. State, 7:30 PM ABC
Prediction: N.C. State 3, Clemson 55.
Last Week's Big Surprises
Um... nothing big last week? Undefeated App State lost, I guess. Three of the top four teams were on bye. Yawn.
Games to Watch on TV
Well, we start off with a bang with the Penn State-Minnesota game at noon on ABC. Maryland plays #3 Ohio State on Fox. Florida State, who just fired coach Willie Taggart, plays Boston College on ACCNX.
The obvious Game of the Week is #1 LSU vs. #2 Alabama at 3:30 PM on CBS, though unfortunately, the loser of this game will still have a good chance at making the playoffs. #20 Kansas State vs Texas is essentially an elimination game in the Pac-12. Virginia Tech vs. #22 Wake Forest might be a good matchup.
At 4:00 PM, there's an important Big Ten West game as #18 Iowa plays #16 Wisconsin on Fox. The winner will still have a chance for the division title, if Minnesota falters, while the loser might be eliminated or hoping for a tiebreaker at best.
The night games are kind of a let-down. N.C. State will try not to die against Clemson at 7:30 PM on ABC. #15 Notre Dame will play a scrappy Duke team on ACCNX.
Posted by Ken in: sports
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