Michigan finishes Penn State, 41-17
After a sucker punch second quarter, the Wolverines retook control of the game to continue their undefeated start to 2022 with a dominant 41-17 win at home against Penn State. The offense exploded for 418 rushing yards thanks to a brutish offensive line and huge days for Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum, who rushed for 173 yards on 16 carries and 166 yards on 28 carries, respectively. The Wolverines never punted and turned the ball over just once.
The Nittany Lions began the game as slow as humanly possible, running just six plays in the entire first quarter. They scored their only touchdowns in a surprising stretch during the second quarter in which Sean Clifford broke free for a huge run and Curtis Jacobs recorded a pick-six. Besides those quick 14 points though, the Michigan defense stifled Penn State's offense, who turned the ball over on downs on three of their final four possessions as they tried to play catch-up.
Here are the final stats:
Wolverines pull ahead by two scores after three
Michigan has retaken control of this matchup thanks to an explosive third quarter for the running game. Led by Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, the Wolverines gained 168 yards on the ground, eclipsing over 330 yards for the game with an entire quarter to go. That's all on a Nittany Lion defense that came into today ranked in the top five in overall run defense.
Penn State's offense found a bit of rhythm after a shaky first half, gaining 132 yards (mostly through the air), but failed to convert a fourth down inside the Michigan 40-yard line that felt like a huge missed opportunity. That feeling doubled when Corum took the very next snap to the house for his second touchdown of the day to restore the Wolverines' two-score lead.
This game has flipped on its head! Michigan leads 16-14 at halftime
The second quarter started as the first ended: the Michigan offense driving down the field. After two less-than-ideal redzone trips, the Wolverines finally cashed in to take a 13-0 lead. Penn State was desperate for a response and Sean Clifford delivered — and then some.
Clifford's 62-yard run on the ensuing possession set up the Nittany Lions' first score of the game: a 1-yard touchdown run courtesy of Kaytron Allen. Five plays later, J.J. McCarthy's third-down pass was deflected (twice) and picked off by Curtis Jacobs, who returned it 47 yards for a pick-six. In the blink of an eye, Penn State was in front.
Michigan leads at the break, but some of these numbers are astounding: Michigan has outgained Penn State 274-84. The Wolverines have run 50 offensive plays; the Nittany Lions have run 13. Clifford's big play is the only first down Penn State has converted while Michigan has earned 18.
And yet, it's a two-point game at halftime. We've got a ballgame, folks. Here's a look at halftime stats:
Michigan leads 6-0 after 1st Q, Penn St. defense keeping this close
The game has been dominated so far by the Wolverines, who were on offense for nearly 11 and a half minutes over the course of the quarter. They gained 126 total yards and tallied eight first downs. Michigan reached the redzone on both drives and even reached a goal-to-go situation, yet the Wolverines have just six points to show for it, thanks to a resilient Penn State defense.
Despite an offense that failed to earn a first down, this is still a one-score game for the Nittany Lions. The first period ended with their second three-and-out, resulting in minimal rest for the defense. I'm only half-joking when I say this break between quarters might be the longest break the Penn State defense has had thus far.
How to watch Penn State at Michigan
- Time: Noon ET
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 15
- TV channel: FOX
Previewing the game
From NCAA.com's Mike Lopresti's Week 7 preview:
Times are good in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines have gone 6-0 for the second consecutive year, something they hadn’t done since 1977 and the salad days of the Bo Schembechler empire. They have taken games by the throat with a 143-23 dominance in the first half, handed the ball to Blake Corum so he could score 11 touchdowns and average 122.5 rushing yards a game, and seen Jim Harbaugh’s quarterback decision hit the jackpot. J.J. McCarthy’s 78.3 completion percentage is the nation’s finest, with all-Big Tenner Cade McNamara now the backup. The Wolverines are the only team outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to rank in the top-10 nationally in both scoring offense and defense.
But unbeaten Penn State will test Michigan’s high hopes, especially with a defense that has forced 11 turnovers in three games and allowed only one team to crack 100 yards rushing. Strange, given these programs’ pedigrees, that this is the first time in a quarter-century that Michigan and Penn State will meet as top-10 teams.
How they compare statistically
Take a look at how Penn State and Michigan match up going into the game.
|6-0 (3-0)||Record (Big Ten)||5-0 (2-0)|
|Jim Harbaugh (8th season at Michigan)||Coach||James Franklin (9th season at Penn State)|
|No. 5||AP rank||No. 10|
|43.0||Points per game||34.4|
|458.7||Yards per game||443.6|
|165.3||Passing yards allowed||262.0|
|81.7||Rushing yards allowed||79.6|
1,152 yards (9 TDs, 1 INT)
|Passing leader||Sean Clifford
1,030 yards (9 TDs, 2 INT)
735 yards (11 TDs)
|Rushing leader||Nicholas Singleton
463 yards (5 TDs)
390 yards (1 TD)
|Receiving leader||Parker Washington
Where they rank
Michigan and Penn State are ranked in the top 10 in the AP Poll for Week 7.
|2||Ohio State (20)||1507||3||6-0|