No. 4 Michigan trounced Penn State 49-10. There are a lot of positives to take away from the performance.
Takeaways from the Game:
Bounce back game from Wilton Speight
After getting banged up on a big hit against Colorado, Speight played admirably while injured, but wasn’t as consistently efficient as he has shown to be this season. Speight got back on track in a big way against Penn State.
- Good footwork and Mechanics: Speight kept his feet moving and when he made throws, he planted his feet and drove the ball. His mechanics were sound.
- Continued to look down the field while the pocket collapsed
- Bought extra time with his legs, even converting a fourth down conversion scrambling.
- Wise decisions: Threw the ball away when no one was open instead of forcing a throw or taking a sack
- Accuracy: Highly accurate today with power. The ball was zipping out of his hand today. And his most impressive throw was one on the run 40+ yards down the field to Amara Darboh right on the money in the endzone, but a holding penalty negated the score.
- Spreading the wealth: Speight hooked up with 8 receivers for completions.
Speight finished the day 21-34, for 189 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan scored five touchdowns touchdowns inside three yards. One touchdown from Khalid Hill, one from De’Veon Smith, one by Chris Evans, one by Ty Issac, and another by Karan Higdon.
Running game excels
Michigan had four running backs rush for over 50 yards:
- De’Veon Smith: 12 attempts - 107 yards - 1 touchdown
- Karan Higdon: 9 attempts - 81 yards - 2 touchdowns
- Ty Issac: 11 attempts - 74 yards - 1 touchdown
- Chris Evans: 8 attempts- 56 yards - 1 touchdown
Michigan showcased their depth at the position, tallying five rushes of over 25 yards. The ground game gained 326 yards, and had 6 touchdowns.
Sacks on Sacks on Sacks
The front seven was able to pressure quarterback Trace McSorely throughout the day, amassing 6 total sacks.
Secondary bottles up the pass
Having Jourdan Lewis back helped the Michigan secondary tremendously. Lewis had a couple plays of rust but shook it off well and he looked solid throughout the day. Channing Stribling also had two key pass-breakups early in the third quarter when Penn State had goal to go. After being exposed for some big plays against Colorado, Michigan’s secondary fared very well today.
Saquon Barkley is really good
Michigan faced their best competition at running back yet in Saquon Barkley. Showing top-tier quickness, Barkley was able to get to the edge repeatedly, while proving to be a big threat as a receiver out of the backfield as well. Barkley is an NFL talent and Michigan lost some battles against him today. This did however, provide a good learning lesson for upcoming games when Michigan will be facing some more NFL ready half-backs. On the day Barkley rushed for 59 yards, while also hauling in 5 receptions for 77 yards.
Time of Possession
Harbaugh loves to win the time of possession battle and win it they did today by a large margin. Michigan had the ball for 35:49, while Penn State had it for 24:11.