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Coach Class: Breaking down Penn State-Michigan

Editor's note: Each week, analysts from ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine will tackle a game plan for one of the biggest games on the schedule.

Penn State hasn't beaten Michigan since 1996, a streak that includes four straight losses in Ann Arbor. So when PSU heads west on Sept. 22, this wounded pack of Wolverines should be approached with extreme caution. We had our coaches, Bill Curry and Mike Gottfried, draw up competing game plans, then had Jim Donnan pick a winner. On paper, anyway.

Curry takes over Michigan
PSU RB Austin Scott isn't spectacular, so I'm more concerned with receivers Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler and Chris Bell. All four can play. Using zone coverage, we'll clog passing lanes and unleash LB Shawn Crable, a big, fast kid who roves the entire field. On offense, WR Mario Manningham has to get 12 touches any way possible. If he's healthy, big-armed QB Chad Henne is terrific, but he needs a signature win. RB Mike Hart, one of the best backs this decade, isn't overly fast but has exceptional vision. It'd be tempting to run him all day, but balance is key against PSU LBs Dan Connor and Sean Lee. If those two know what's coming, they'll blow up the play.