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Five things to watch: Penn State

The Michigan Insider outlines five things to watch as Michigan opens Big Ten play against Penn State this weekend.

Michigan opens up Big Ten play against the Nittany Lions this weekend. The competition will start to heat up as the season progresses and the Wolverines are looking to make a statement after starting the game slow against Colorado.

The Michigan Insider breaks down five things to watch this weekend.

Can Michigan get the run game going?

It's no real secret that Penn State's defense is decimated with injuries, especially with the linebackers. This is a game Michigan should get all facets of the offense working. However, there should be some emphasis on the ground game this week. If all goes according to plan, the offensive line should find some success against its Penn State counterparts on defense. A heavy dose of De'Veon Smith's physicality, Khalid Hill, Ty Isaac, Chris Evans and many other could spell a long day for the Nittany Lions.

Nittany Lions linerbacker troubles

As mentioned above, Penn State will likely be without its starting three linebackers this week. Is this another week where Jake Butt and the tight ends will see considerable passes be thrown there way? If there's an opportunity to take advantage of the short throws, you better believe the Wolverines will look to take it. Especially if its looking to fix the passing game after suffering a down week the game before.

The defensive line might just have a field day

Another area of weakness for Penn State is its offensive line. Perhaps one of the poorest in the conference, its been a sore spot for the Nittany Lions for quite some time. Look for the defensive line to be particularly aggressive this week as its likely you will see many of them in the backfield this week.

Is it time to open up the offense yet?

As far as Michigan's offensive gameplan goes, it's clear there's plenty of wrinkles the offensive coaching staff can throw into the playbook during the week. With Big Ten play opening up, will the playbook follow? That's something we're going to watch for this weekend.

Special teams can't do it again, right?

Regardless of competition, it's difficult to find a time where the special teams has been this effective. With block punts, field goals and even a punt return for a touchdown. The Wolverines can't do it again, right?

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