Men's Soccer vs. Northwestern

After scoring the first goal of the match for Penn State, forward Liam butts (7) is embraced by his teammates. Butt's goal tied the score 1-1 at the beginning of the second half during the Penn State men's soccer game against Northwestern at Jeffrey Fields Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Penn State beat Northwestern 2-1.

Penn State had some time to rest, but now it prepares to take on Michigan for its third Big Ten match of the season.

After being bombarded with three games in 10 days, the Nittany Lions got a break and won’t play the Wolverines until this Sunday to afford the team five days of rest and practice.

Coming off an impressive win against Rutgers, the blue and white’s first win against a top-25 team, Penn State looks to add to its two-game win streak against Michigan.

Penn State’s hot streak as of late has helped the team obtain the record of 7-3-1, while its upcoming opponent sits at 5-4-2.

Michigan is making the trek to Jeffrey Field after coming off a 2-2 stalemate in double-overtime with Michigan State.

The Wolverines also had five days off like Penn State before their matchup to give the team much-needed rest coming off such a tough match.

Not only did the Wolverines go to double-overtime against Michigan State in their last match, but they also seem to be making it a habit, as the maize and blue went to overtime against Indiana in the preceding match.

While the Wolverines were unable to find a winner, the blue and white topped Michigan State 1-0 with a late goal from senior forward Danny Bloyou.

Both teams have each played at least one top-25 opponent, but the outcomes of those matches help determine which team sits higher on the totem pole.

Michigan has only played one top-25 opponent in No. 12 Maryland, and the Wolverines came up just short in a 2-1 loss.

On the opposing side of the field, Penn State has played two top-25 teams.

Penn State was taken down by No. 13 Pitt in a 1-0 defeat back in September.

However, in comparison to Michigan losing to its only top-25 opponent, Penn State was able to, not just defeat but shut out No. 22 Rutgers and put up two goals in the process.

In order to have a winning record, Michigan needed to find an offensive weapon to help it reach that point, and it found that weapon in senior defender Jackson Ragen.

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Surprisingly, the team’s No. 1 goal scorer positions himself in front of his own net as he plays in the backline. This, however, has not stopped Ragen from leading the team in goals scored with five.

Not only is Ragen leading his team in goals, but he also has scored two more goals than the next-highest player has on the season.

Although this is an impressive stat for Ragen, the fact that the rest of his team has been so lackluster on the scoring front, only producing 17 goals in 11 games, might be a reason as to why the Wolverines are so close to a .500 record.

Penn State outperforms the Wolverines in almost all offensive categories, putting up 19 goals in the same amount of games and posting 1.73 goals per game compared to Michigan’s 1.55.

On the defensive side of the ball, Penn State shows why it sits at 7-3-1 as it has forced four shutouts on the season, while Michigan has not seen a clean sheet in 2021-22.

Last season, Penn State dismantled Michigan 4-1 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal match. While the Nittany Lions went on to play in the championship game, Michigan went home with a loss at the hands of a rival in clinical fashion.

The Wolverines now get to play the team that knocked them out of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since that game as they look for revenge against the team that ended their season just a few months ago.

The Wolverines have a chance at that revenge at Jeffrey Field on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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