Penn State 10
Here is what I said in my preview of the game:
I was wrong in that they only got into Michigan territory three times, but the results were the same. The Nittany Lions' first opportunity came right off the bat as A.J. Wallace returned the opening kickoff 46 yards out to the 50 yard line. Cue up Zombie Nation. Fans jumping. Beaver Stadium going nuts. My voice was already starting to give out. Six plays later Jordan Norwood dropped a 3rd down pass and the Lions were forced to try for a field goal. But Kevin Kelly missed the 48 yard field goal and the Lions had squandered their first scoring chance.
Michigan took the ball and drove to mid field, but two offsides penalties killed the drive and fueled the crowd even more. Penn State took the ball at the 19 yard line and went nowhere, but a 55 yard punt by Kapinos won back the field position for the Lions and gave the Wolverines the ball at their 19.
Michigan got the first break of the game four plays later when Derrick Williams fumbled a punt return giving the Wolverines the ball at the PSU 48. But the defense held Michigan and forced them to punt again a few plays later. With that the first quarter ended with no scoring.
The Wolverines started off the second quarter with a 10 play 4 minute drive that ended with a 25 yard TD pass to Adrian Arrington on 3rd and 10. (Mich 7-0) The Lions started off their next drive well with a 14 yard pass to Derrick Williams. But then the Michigan defensive line took over the game. Back to back sacks by Taylor and Woodley pushed the Lions back 26 yards. A not-so-good punt by Kapinos gave the Wolverines the ball at the 50 yard line. They drove down to the 6 yard line before the Penn State defense forced a stop. Garret Rivas kicked a 23 yard field goal giving Michigan a 10 point lead. (Mich 10-0)
On defense, Lamar Woodley picked up right where he left off and got another sack on the Lions first play after the kickoff. It looked like the Lions were going to be forced into another 3 and out, but a pass interference penalty on 3rd and 17 bailed them out and gave them a first down. After that the Nittany Lions put together their best drive of the day and moved the ball 81 yards down to the Michigan 5 yard line. The drive was highlighted by a 31 yard screen pass to Tony Hunt on 3rd and 10 and a 16 yard pass to Jordan Norwood on 3rd and 10. But with time in the half winding down Morelli threw two incompletions at the goal line and Penn State was forced to kick a field goal on their second trip into Michigan territory. (Mich 10-3)
In the 3rd quarter, the Michigan defensive line took over the game. Tony Hunt had one carry for a loss. Derrick Williams had one carry for no gain. And Penn State was sacked 3 times. The Lions only had one non-penalty induced first down, a 24 yard pass from Morelli to Williams. But on the play Morelli was hit by Alan Branch in a vicious helmet to helmet hit that knocked Morelli out of the game. Replay showed it was a clear helmet to helmet hit, but there was no flag thrown on the play. Daryll Clark came in, but it was obvious the wind had gone out of the Beaver Stadium sails.
Michigan wasted no time getting the ball back and driving 61 yards on the back of Mike Hart who finished the drive with a 1 yard TD run. (Mich 17-3)
After that neither offense could get things going for a while. Penn State's problems got worse with eight minutes go to in the game when Daryll Clark scrambled to the right and took a nasty head snapping hit from David Harris knocking him out of the game. As third string quarterback Paul Cianciolo jogged out onto the field, several Penn State fans started making their way toward the exits.
But Cianciolo had a few tricks up his sleeve. With five minutes to go the Lion defense forced a crucial stop getting the ball back in good field position. Then on 3rd and 1 Cianciolo hit Tony Hunt on a screen pass over the middle. Hunt turned upfield and ran over two or three guys as he rumbled 43 yards to the score. (Mich 17-10) Cue Zombie Nation. Fans jumping. Beaver Stadium going nuts. The defense did their job and got the ball back with 1:44 left in the game, but the hapless Lion offense with a 3rd string quarterback was no match for the fantastic Wolverine defense. Cianciolo's 4th and 6 pass attempt to Jordan Norwood fell harmlessly to the turf and the game was over.
Offensive Player of the Game
Tony Hunt struggled to find any running room all night finishing with 33 rushing yards on 13 carries. But he pulled in 5 catches for 85 yards and Penn State's lone touchdown. His 34 yard screen pass in the second quarter set up Penn State's first score. And his late fourth quarter touchdown catch and run caused the Wolverine faithful to put a halt to their victory celebration for a little while longer.
Defensive Player of the Game
Nobody really had a standout game for the defense. It was a great team effort to hold the balanced Michigan offense to 312 total yards and 17 points. But the linebackers were flying all over the field making big tackles and disrupting the Mike Hart juggernaut, holding the star running back to 112 yards on 26 carries. The trio of Posluszny, Lee, and Connor finished with 24 tackles, 3 TFL, and 1 sack.
Impressions of the Game
Before getting injured, Anthony Morelli was having an excellent game. He was 11-18 for 133 yards. I haven't watched a replay of the game, but I can't think of one boneheaded throw he made. By contrast, Daryll Clark I thought looked rattled and confused before he got injured. Hopefully this will quiet some of the people calling for Clark to start over Morelli.
The word after the game was that Morelli suffered a concussion. Paterno did not know the extent of Clark's injury. No word on the status of either player for this week's game with Illinois.
Either our offensive line is terrible or the Michigan defensive line is a group of bulls in maize pants. Based on our play up until this point I lean toward the latter, but it's disappointing to see how badly the Wolverines dominated them. The results were literally catastrophic with seven sacks and two quarterback casualties. Our guys are young, but they have a long way to go before they are a good offensive line. But to their credit, no offsides penalties and one holding call.
The defensive line couldn't get any pressure on Henne all night. There again, are we that bad or are they that good? I think it's a bit of both, but since we couldn't get any pressure on Brady Quinn, Troy Smith, or Bryan Cupito, I think there is a dangerous trend building here. But what they lack in pass rush they make up for in run stopping which makes them respectable. But this line cannot dominate anyone with a balanced offense. If you give quarterbacks all day to sit in the pocket at this level they are going to make you pay.
True freshman A.J. Wallace played cornerback opposite of Justin King on the second and third series of the game. Lydell Sargent also saw a series at two at the left corner spot. Apparently Tony Davis is not the clear #2 anymore and Wallace and Sargent are pushing for the starting job.
Freshman DT Phillip Taylor made an appearance in the game meaning he will not be redshirting this year.
The Michigan defense is friggin' good. Clearly the best we've seen all year. It's easy to see how they put the BEAT DOWN on Notre Dame. If I were a Buckeye, I would be worried.
Swami or Schmuck?
Hart finished with 116 yards and 1 TD.
Tony was pretty much bottled up all night with 33 yards on 13 carries.
Penn State entered Michigan territory three times. The results were a missed FG, a FG, and a touchdown. The nearly entered the Michigan side of the field another time, but Derrick Williams fumbled the ball at the PSU 48. So two good opportunities squandered, two converted.
Fumbles: Michigan 0 - PSU 2 (1 lost)
INT: Michigan 0 - PSU 0
Penalties: Michigan 6 for 50 yards - PSU 1 for 8 yards
3rd Down Conversions: Michigan 7-16 - PSU 5 for 15
Field Goals: Michigan 1-1 - PSU 1-2
Overall not too bad. Obviously the fumble and missed field goal hurt the most. Make the FG and get some points instead of fumbling at midfield and it's a different ballgame. But even with these mistakes we were right there with a chance to tie it at the end. We didn't overly kill ourselves today, in fact we played a pretty mistake free game. The disheartening thing is we just physically got mauled. The offensive line and defensive line were both dominated by the #4 team in the nation. Nothing much you can do about it except go back to work and try to get better.
On Saturday the Lions will get to lick some of their wounds against the Illinois Illini in Beaver Stadium an noon. After pulling the shocking upset over Michigan State, the Illini have dropped two in a row to Indiana and Ohio to fall to 2-5 (1-2) on the season. The game will be televised regionally on ESPN2.