Michigan’s road game against Penn State felt more medieval than cutting edge.
The field was slippery, there was wet weather to deal with. Michigan linebacker Aidan Hutchinson called it “a little windy, a little nasty”. There were fumbles.
Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford took a bludgeoning from the UM pass-rush, sacked 7 times, and hit & hurried a whole lot more than that.
Wolverines running back Hassan Haskins rushed 31 times for 156 yards.
The game went back and forth.
Michigan had a lead in the 4th Quarter, that lead became a 14-14 tie, and then Penn State made a field-goal to go up 17-14 after Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara was strip sacked.
Instead of getting down, Michigan dug down.
“Didn’t bat an eye,” Harbaugh said of McNamara’s demeanor. “Just came back and took the team down the field for the winning drive.”
Hassan Haskins rushed the first five plays of Michigan’s game-winning drive — but it was on play No. 6, McNamara’s first pass of the drive, that Michigan regained the lead (21-17). A 47-yard pass to tight end Erick All where All’s hustle had him accelerate downfield and ultimately dive in for the score.
Harbaugh’s message to McNamara on the game-winning drive was simple and clear — he believes in his quarterback in key moments.
“I just say ‘Hey Cade, you were born for this, born for drives like this’ — and then he went out and did what he does,” Harbaugh said, while also adding that he’s “very cold-blooded”.
Michigan coaches and players keep getting asked what has made this team different to the tune of a 9-1 start after a 2-4 season in 2020. For McNamara, it’s all in the results.
“I think we’ve proven again that we’re different,” McNamara said.
The vibe is certainly different, the energy is — the kind of energy where McNamara and Hutchinson’s press conference ends, and Hutchinson yells “That’s my quarterback!”