The chips were stacked against the Michigan Wolverines well before opening kickoff facing the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. A whiteout, a primetime game, those variables created a hostile environment for the Wolverines to play in.
At the end of the day, Michigan battled in what was a wild one in Happy Valley, but things didn’t go their way when the clock hit zero.
- Michigan received the ball first and the drive wound up on the PSU 47, but a Hassan Haskins rush on 4th & 1 was stuffed and Michigan turned the ball over on downs.
- On Penn State’s second possession of the game, two passes from Sean Clifford set the tone early. Clifford delivered a 37-yard toss to Jahan Dotson that set them up on the 17 yard-line. The very next play Clifford delivered a ball to the corner of the end-zone with enough air on it to tight end Pat Freiermuth to put PSU up 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
That's not much of a push but it was enough pic.twitter.com/Um3gF6BRhB— Due# (@JDue51) October 20, 2019
- A common theme for Michigan in the first half were drops from wide receivers, be it Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, or Ronnie Bell, wideouts weren’t always helping Shea Patterson. Beyond self-inflicted wounds like the drops along with false start penalties, a crucial 4th and 3 on PSU’s 36 didn’t go Michigan’s way after it looked like the Penn State defender impacted Tarik Black’s chance to catch the ball. There was no penalty called and Michigan turned the ball over on downs.
- The momentum went right back to the Penn State sideline and their first play following the turnover on downs was a 44-yard run by Ricky Slade that put PSU in the red-zone. The drive culminated with a 2-yard Sean Clifford touchdown run to put the Nittany Lions up 14-0.
- With Michigan desperately needing a score, the opposite happened for them a few drives later. A Shea Patterson screen pass ended up being a interception by Tariq Castro-Fields. Through Michigan’s first five drives on offense they netted just 93 yards.
- Penn State made Patterson pay for the turnover. A 25-yard pass to a wide open KJ Hamler stretched their lead to 21-0.
- At the end of the first half, Michigan’s offense started to show signs of life and put together their best drive of the game. An 8-play, 75-yard drive that featured clutch throws by Patterson was capped off with a 12-yard Zach Charbonnet touchdown run.
- The score remained 21-7 for much of the third quarter, but time of possession started to become a factor for Penn State’s defense. Michigan’s offense had the ball for much of the quarter and those ‘body-punches’ started to become evident and the Nittany Lions looked gas during a 8 play 65 yard drive that ended with a 12-yard Zach Charbonnet run. Charbonnet accounted for 45 yards on the drive and put Michigan within one score of tying the game, 21-14.
- While Michigan’s defense made Penn State’s offense go stagnant for over a quarter, the PSU offense came back to life after the Wolverines touchdown. Clifford found KJ Hamler deep after Hamler burnt Josh Metellus for a 53-yard touchdown pass to put the Nittany Lions back up two scores, 28-14.
- Michigan may have trailed by three scores early, but once they dug themselves into that hole they fought back time and time again in this one. The Wolverines answered Penn State’s score in the most suspenseful of ways. After a Ronnie Bell 35-yard reception, the Wolverines had 1st & Goal at the 5 yard line. On 3rd Down a Hassan Haskins run was originally rule a touchdown but after it was reviewed he was marked short. The next play Shea Patterson attempted a QB sneak from the 1 yard line. After over 15 seconds with no signal from the referees, it was finally called a touchdown. It was as gritty a QB sneak for a score as you’ll see and it put Michigan within striking distance at 28-21.
- The Michigan defense forced a three and out the next possession to give the Michigan offense the ball with 6:54 left in the game. A Donovan Peoples-Jones set the offense up in great field possession at the Penn State 47. The drive last 12 plays and took off 4:53 of play clock, but didn’t end with a score. On 4th & Goal from the 3 yard line, Shea Patterson bought time in the pocket and delivered an accurate pass to Ronnie Bell in the end zone, but Bell dropped the pass and the Wolverines turned the ball over on downs with 2:01 left in the game.
- For Michigan to get the ball back, their defense couldn’t let Penn State get a first down, and on 3rd & 3 KJ Hamler was able to pick up four yards with 1:45 left. Penn State was then able to run the clock out and escape with a 28-21 win.