Michigan Campus Excitement Intensified in Anticipation of Penn State

Julie ReichlmayrContributor IOctober 23, 2009

In Ann Arbor, students return from fall break to a rejuvenated campus vibe.

Alumni are flocking into Maize and Blue country to witness the Penn State game this weekend. With great anticipation, spectators will do their part to cheer on the Wolverines in what will certainly be an intense matchup.

A recent Michigan alumni reunion is scheduled to take place all weekend, with a massive alumni tailgate to be held on Elbel Field. 

This is a fitting weekend for all alumni and fans to gather in the Big House—at a time when the team will need all the support they can get to compete against a skillful Penn State team.

Students are especially excited for this weekend’s festivities and for a “Maize Out” Big House. Anticipations of a close game are certain between a sharp, and experienced, Penn State team—and also a well-rested and injury-free Michigan lineup.

For the first time in weeks, Tate Forcier was able to compete in a full Monday and Tuesday practice after an extra week to recuperate from a minor concussion and lingering shoulder injury. This should prove essential for the Michigan offensive line this weekend.

David Molk should be healthy to redeem his center position after sitting out multiple weeks with a broken foot. If on his game, Molk will prove a solid addition. Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor, who suffered minor injuries in past weeks (a concussion and sprained ankle, respectively), will hopefully have benefited from an extra week of rest.

Although many criticized the midseason Delaware State as “weak” (and thus probably why many students flew home for a long weekend instead of attending the game), it was also a blessing in disguise. 

Besides giving the Michigan starters an extra week to prepare mentally and physically for Penn State, many of the younger backups and redshirt freshmen were given some play time. Especially impressive were freshmen Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw, Brandon Smith, and Michael Cox.

Denard Robinson performed well and—dare I say it?—threw efficiently. After a difficult and frustrating final performance in the Iowa game, it was nice to see "Shoelace" throwing well, even if it was against Delaware State.

It’s hard to say if Delaware State left the Big House with defeated spirits—apparently a $550,000 paycheck seemed worth it to the Hornets, who were willing to forfeit with one team and receive a royal pummeling by the other.

Nonetheless, Michigan goes into Penn State weekend with a 5-2 record and campus-wide high spirits.

With two consecutive losses to conference teams before the Delaware State “throw-out,” the exceptional start to a decisive season was tarnished. Although not entirely unexpected, any loss is still disappointing aside from the preseason implications.

Michigan State was a down-to-the-wire struggle, Iowa a tough loss offensively.

That same Michigan offense will face their greatest challenge yet against a No. 2-ranked Penn State defense.

Campus-wide sentiment lies with Forcier to utilize his nerveless abilities at quarterback. Consequently, this must be a solid game for the offensive line to contend with a formidable and capable Penn State defense.

All in all, this will certainly be an interesting game to test Michigan’s ability coming off of a relatively easy FCS matchup. Substantial crowds are expected to congregate for traditional tailgates and in the Big House.

If Michigan can hold the Penn State ground attack, minimize the number of game mistakes, and give Forcier enough time to make smart decisions, there is a chance that the Wolverines could upset the Nittany Lions.

Spirits are high in Ann Arbor that a bounce-back game is a definite possibility this weekend.

There is no doubt that the student section will do their part in the stands to cheer on the Maize and Blue.