Sunday, November 4, 2018

Green's five takeaways from Michigan's 42-7 win over Penn State

Photo Credit: Leon Halip- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On a crisp, cool Saturday afternoon, the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines kept the revenge tour going with a 42-7 win over the No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions. Here are my five things to take away from Michigan Stadium:

Michigan’s dominant defense-

The Wolverines proved again why they are the best defense in the FBS as they held the Nittany Lions to their lowest output on offense this season to 186 total yards.

The rush defense made Penn State quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens’ lives a living nightmare with five sacks, highlighted by back-to-back plays from Chase Winovich and Josh Uche, respectively on the first drive of the game.

The icing on the cake came in the late stages of the third quarter as Stevens rolled out and threw the ball to an open Brandon Watson, who happened to play on the other side of the ball for a 62-yard INT for a touchdown to put Michigan up 28-0 with 0:09 left in the third quarter.

Sanders deserted-

Penn State’s workhorse in the backfield proved to be a non-factor as Michigan’s run defense gave Miles Sanders little to no room to execute. The sophomore finished with a season-low 14 yards on seven carries.

Franklin looked to get Sanders involved in the passing games, but Michigan’s defense clogged up any potential screen passes as he caught one pass for nine yards.

Punt city-

The Nittany Lions’ offense had been known to go on uncanny offensive outbursts, but Saturday’s game proved to be the opposite with eight punts compared to 11 first downs, which made for a rough day in the workplace.

Five of those eight punts came on three and outs and Penn State did not score until its last drive of the game on Stevens’ eight-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.

Run Higdon, Run-

The Karan Higdon show was on full display with a game-high 132 yards on 20 carries. Higdon finished with his seventh career game over 100 yards rushing and stands one game shy of tying Mike Hart’s record of eight.

The highlight of Higdon’s day came on a 50-yard run up the middle, which helped set up a one-yard touchdown by Shea Patterson to put Michigan up 7-0 with 6:48 into the game.

Numerous opportunities blown by PSU-

Penn State’s miscues and lack of execution reminiscent to a bad stand-up comedy routine plagued them the entire afternoon.

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin at one point to declined a penalty on an out of bounds kickoff, to playing musical chairs with quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens in the second half. To be fair, it was more of a credit to how disciplined and crisp the Wolverines were on the day, but also more than seven points was expected from one of the better offenses in the Big Ten.

To make matters worse, Penn State got a field goal block on a 50-yard attempt by Quinn Nordin, with a TD called back at the end of the play. On the same drive, McSorley’s fumble early in the second quarter recovered by Winovich stonewalled Penn State’s day and any hopes of a New Year’s Six bowl game.