Penn State emotionally ready to pay back Michigan

Penn State Northwestern Football
Penn State head coach James Franklin watches his team during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

After practice Wednesday, Shareef Miller recalled walking off the field at the Big House after being crushed by Michigan, 49-10, last year.

“I was like real embarrassed,” the Philadelphia native said. “It’s a feeling that you never want after a game.”

Miller, a redshirt sophomore defensive end, has something to prove this time around. He said all the talk about Michigan’s defense, which is the best in the nation, is overshadowing Penn State’s defense.

“We want to show them who the best defense is Saturday,” the George Washington grad said.

There’s no doubt the game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., will be a defensive matchup. Penn State’s defense comes in at No. 9 overall, according to NCAA.com, allowing an average of 285 yards per game compared to Michigan’s 224.

While coach James Franklin spent more time with the offense during practice, he said defensive coordinator Brent Pry gave him good feedback from the times he was absent.

The fourth-year head coach has also been impressed with the Nittany Lions’ special teams unit, saying it had the best two days of special teams practice since he’s been at Penn State.

“It’s been really, really good,” Franklin said. “I felt really good about yesterday’s energy and execution. We’ve got some new things in, so it wasn’t as clean as you’d like it to be, but that’s typical on a Tuesday.”

As far as practice Wednesday, the coach is as please as he can be without having rewatched it on film yet.

“I like where we’re at right now,” Franklin said. “We have to finish the week off the right way, but right now … I like where we’re at.”