The Matchup: No. 10 Penn State vs. Michigan

Article excerpt

When: 3:30 p.m. Today

Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

TV/Radio: ABC/Penn State radio network

Prediction: Penn State 24, Michigan 17

Line: Penn State by 2 1/2

SERIES: Michigan leads, 9-3

THE SETUP

For all their protestations to the contrary, the Penn State players and coach Joe Paterno desperately want to win this game and end Michigan's run of eight consecutive wins in the series.

THE MATCHUP

Despite Penn State's superior record and ranking, using the barometer of a common opponent -- Notre Dame -- Michigan would be the favorite based on a 38-0 win over the Irish vs. Penn State's 31- 10 triumph over the same team. Michigan tailback Mike Hart, who guaranteed a win over Notre Dame, this week labeled Penn State the best team in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have been playing it close to the vest regarding their starting quarterback. Veteran Chad Henne, who has a sprained knee, is expected to give way again to freshman Ryan Mallett, who played last week. Penn State, which has failed to start fast this season, needs to alter that trend in this first road game. Penn State followers are hoping for an offensive explosion. They'll settle for a win. If history is any guide, this will be close. Michigan won, 27-25, on the last play of regulation in 2005 at Ann Arbor, and 27-24 in overtime in 2002, also in the Big House. …