Penn State football won’t want to return to Ann Arbor anytime soon.
Saturday presented an opportunity for James Franklin and Penn State football to finally get a signature conference road win. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, Michigan had other ideas. With revenge on its mind from last year’s beatdown in Happy Valley, Michigan completely dominated the Nittany Lions and used a huge second half to post a 42-7 victory.
Penn State could do nothing on offense against the top-rated defense in the country.
Senior quarterback Trace McSorley was unable to get anything going and found himself under constant pressure from the tough Michigan defensive front. Already banged up from a knee injury suffered last week against Iowa, never looked comfortable against the Wolverines and eventually relented the starting duties to backup Tommy Stevens.
McSorley finished with one of his worst statistical games at Penn State, throwing for just 83 yards and an interception. A dangerous runner all season, he carried the ball 12 times for negative-six yards against Michigan.
Stevens didn’t fare much better — throwing for just 35 yards and an interception. The only bright spot for the backup was the fact that he led the Nittany Lions with 52 rushing yards and scored the team’s only touchdown of the day.
Penn State had no answer for the Michigan defense and was only able to put up 150 yards of total offense. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over three times and converted an abysmal two out of 11 third down attempts.
Michigan found much of its success on the ground, running the ball for 259 yards. Karan Higdon rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown.
For as bad as things went for Penn State, the Nittany Lions were actually in the ballgame until the third quarter. James Franklin’s crew managed to keep the deficit to 14 at halftime before watching Michigan score 14 points in the third quarter, and 14 more in the fourth, to run away with the game.
After this demoralizing loss, the Nittany Lions will need to regroup and get ready to host Wisconsin next Saturday.