The University of Michigan football team fell to the Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday night, losing 43-40 in quadruple overtime. The loss is the first of the season for Michigan, bring their season record to 5-1 and conference record to 1-1. Turnovers in the first half gave Penn State an early lead, but solid defensive play and an improved Devin Gardner saw Michigan take the lead in the second half. A late drive by Penn State in the fourth quarter tied the game before sending it into overtime. From there Penn State benefited from missed field goals and questionable play calling from Michigan. Penn State finally won when a pass interference call in the end zone gave them a first down at the Michigan two yard line, and they punched it in for the win a play later.
Frank Clark: The Wolverines’ defense was helped by a big game from Mr. Clark. He had two fumble recoveries, one of which he took to the house in the beginning of the second half. He also had some very nice plays and was able to add some pressure to the quarterback. This was probably the defensive end’s best game of the year.
Devin Funchess: Although he only had 4 catches, he still turned in another 100 yard performance along with 2 touchdowns. The TE/WR hybrid continues to pose match up problems for defenses, and with a game like this we will continue to see him used on the outside more and more.
Jeremy Gallon: My third star of the game was a little harder to select. Without looking at the box score, I would not have known that Gallon had nearly 100 yards. The senior receiver hauled in 7 total passes and added a touchdown. Although this wasn’t a flashy game for Gallon, he certainly played solid like he always does.
3 Key plays
1. On the first play of the second half, James Ross III forced a fumble when tackling running back Zach Zwinak which defensive end Frank Clark picked up and took to the house. The score cut Penn State’s lead to just 4 and really gave Michigan momentum in the second half.
2. Trailing by a touchdown with 27 seconds left, Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg connected on a 36 yard pass with receiver Allen Robinson which set up Penn State on Michigan’s one, and allowed them to eventually tie the game and send it into overtime. On the play, Robinson skied for the ball and plucked it out of the air over Michigan defender Channing Stribling.
3. On third down, trailing by a field goal in the fourth overtime, quarterback threw it into the end zone but the ball was batted away. The referee called safety Jarrod Wilson for interference which set Penn State up on Michigan’s two yard line. Penn State capitalized the next play by running it in for a touchdown, sealing the win for the Nittany Lions.
Honorable mention: Take your pick of several missed field goals.
The offensive line really took a step back in this game. Taylor Lewan being out for the second half did not help, and Joey Burzynski played at LG in place of Chris Bryant.
Although he did not have much room to run against Penn State, Fitzgerald Toussaint seemed much more tentative than last week. He wasn’t nearly as decisive and missed a few cuts that could have resulted in better yardage.
The defense played pretty well. Two of the touchdowns that Penn State scored early in the game were set up by the offense turning the ball over.
While Michigan didn’t blitz much at all in the first half, they did bring the heat at times in the second half, and it really seemed to work as they were able to rattle Hackenberg on several occasions.
Jake Ryan made his season debut and looked solid.
Michigan running backs averaged under one yard per carry.
Devin Gardner rushed for a career high 121 yards.
Brenden Gibbons missed three field goals in this game, two of which were in overtime, although one was blocked.
Jeremy Gallon has now caught a pass in 32 consecutive games.
Michigan did not allow a single rushing touchdown coming into this game. Tonight they allowed two.
Michigan had nearly 13 more minutes of possession than Penn State.
Michigan outrushed Penn State 149-86.
What it means
Missed opportunities and turnovers which Michigan had been able to overcome in previous weeks finally came back to bite them tonight. The road doesn’t get any easier with a dangerous Indiana team coming to the Big House next weekend, and then a murderous November slate looming after that. If the Wolverines want to make it through their remaining schedule with a respectable record, they will need to clean up the cut out the errors.
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