STATE COLLEGE – In front of 110, 669 fans on Saturday night Penn State beat Michigan 28-21 it was the 4th-largest crowd ever at Beaver Stadium.
Wolverine’s faithful were left scratching their heads why Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t utilize their plethora of talented receivers that they have at their disposal to throw the ball down the field. Especially the 6-4, 222-pound Nico Collins who caught a 40 yard pass in the second quarter that was nullified by offsetting penalties.
If Penn State wants continue success going forward, they are going to have to find a better way to manage the clock. The better teams in the conference will beat you because of their management of the clock.
If it wasn’t for big plays by quarterback Sean Clifford and receiver K.J. Hamler we could be talking about how the Nittany Lions blew the game.
PSU led 21-0 halfway in the second quarter after Clifford threw a dime to the left-back corner of the end zone over Michigan safety Brad Hawkins, into Hamler’s hands.
Michigan made some adjustments on offense went to the ground game to get back into the game, Clifford hooked up with Hamler again on 53-yard post route, beating strong safety Josh Metellus, for a 28-14 lead with just 13:14 left in the contest.
“We’re extremely confident and that comes from our preparation, how we prepare, how we practice each week and the work we’ve put in throughout the offseason and throughout this season. So we have a ton of confidence and guys are playing [and] flying around and making plays.” Penn State LB Micah Parsons said.
The Nittany Lions almost gave this one away but not using running back Noah Cain in the final few minutes of the game to chew up the clock and seal the game for PSU.
He was barely used until the final possession. Where he finally touch the ball and had 7 yards on 2 carries to kill the clock.
Finally, Hamler took a handoff in motion from Clifford, turned it up into the hole and ran through Hawkins, a safety who outweighs him by 40 pounds, on 3rd-and-3 for the clinching first down.
Cain only appeared on three PSU possessions – once midway in the first quarter, once early in the third quarter, and in the final moments. He hits holes, he finishes runs. He’s both quick and powerful and is exactly the man you need when the game is on the line.
Right. But when you need to run, you need to run. That’s why Penn State ran three straight times with 2:01 left and a 7-point lead – to kill the clock. And Cain and Hamler did it.
The Wolverines kept Penn State in check in the third quarter, cutting their deficit to a touchdown on another 12-yard touchdown run by Carbonnet.
The Nittany Lions went back up by two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter with a 53-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Hamler. Michigan answered though with a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped by a fourth-and-inches quarterback sneak by Patterson.
“Honestly it was electrifying. It was almost a sigh of relief knowing that we got the job done. Like whew, that was close. The defense, the play we made a big break right there and I think that’s going to stay consistent through the season. Honestly, it was a big relief, we earned that, and guys knew and felt prideful about it.” Penn State LB Cam Brown said.