The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines exceeded expectations against the Penn State Nittany Lions, winning 49-10 in the Big Ten Conference opener.
The Wolverines scored with 9:51 left in the first quarter on a one-yard run from fullback Khalid Hill. The touchdown to give Michigan a 7-0 edge was Hill’s fourth touchdown this season.
Jabrill Peppers set up Hill’s score with an outstanding 53-yard punt return. As a matter of fact, Peppers almost scored the touchdown himself.
JABRILL PEPPERS *ALMOST* DID IT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/QLzEbFs9qY— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) September 24, 2016
About six minutes later, the Wolverines doubled the scoring gap as running back De’Veon Smith ran the ball in from two yards out.
Wilton Speight helped Michigan to a 21-0 lead over Penn State with 14:09 left in the first half, as the quarterback found true freshman tight end Devin Asiasi on a three-yard pass in the end zone. It marked the first catch and first touchdown of Asiasi’s career at Michigan.
Speight completed 21-of-34 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. He chipped in two carries for nine yards. While Asiasi had the only receiving score, Amara Darboh caught seven passes for 44 yards, Jake Butt snagged four passes for 42 yards and Grant Perry made two catches for 22 yards.
Michigan extended the lead to 28-0 on a two-yard touchdown by Karan Higdon with 46 seconds left in the first half. The score was the second of the season for Higdon, as his first came in Week 1 against Hawaii.
The Nittany Lions got on the board with a 21-yard field goal by Tyler Davis.
Michigan’s lead jumped to 35-3 over Penn State with 2:42 left in the third quarter on a three-yard rushing touchdown by true freshman running back Chris Evans. The score marks the third of the season for Evans.
Trace McSorley finally scored with his arm, as he found Chris Godwin for an eight-yard touchdown. However, the Wolverines still owned a 25-point edge with 11:22 left in the game.
McSorley completed 16-of-27 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown, while tossing an interception. Saquon Barkley led the way for the Nittany Lions with 15 carries for 59 yards and five receptions for 77 yards.
Moments after the touchdown, Michigan safety Jeremy Clark went down on the kickoff return. He was carted off the field and could not put any weight on his right leg.
For the first time in his career, Higdon recorded a multi-touchdown game. With 6:11 left, the running back danced into the end zone from 40 yards out to give Michigan a 42-10 lead.
With 3:17 left, Michigan linebacker Mike McCray intercepted Trace McSorley at the Penn State 31-yard line. John O’Korn replaced Wilton Speight at quarterback on the ensuing drive. Just over a minute after the interception, Ty Isaac scampered for a three-yard touchdown and a 49-10 lead in favor of the Wolverines.
Smith led the Michigan run game with 12 attempts for 107 yards and a touchdown. Higdon tallied nine carries for 81 yards and two scores. Isaac had 11 runs for 74 yards and touchdown. Evans picked up 56 yards and a score on eight carries. Last but not least, Khalid Hill had two carries for two yards and a touchdown.
After earning a 49-10 win over Penn State, the Wolverines will battle against the Wisconsin Badgers (4-0) next week at Michigan Stadium.