Ty Isaac

Associated Press

No. 2 Penn State exacts revenge on No. 19 Michigan, advances to showdown vs. No. 6 Ohio State

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The trajectory of Penn State’s program changed with last season’s loss to Michigan. That 49-10 drubbing in Ann Arbor dropped the Nittany Lions to 2-2 on the season and 2-6 dating back to the close of the 2015 season and furthered the narrative that James Franklin couldn’t compete against the elite of the Big Ten.

Penn State is now the elite of the Big Ten. The No. 2 Nittany Lions entered Saturday night 15-1 since that blowout loss to Michigan, and improved to 16-1 with a 42-13 defeat of No. 19 Michigan.

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead pulled out a wrinkle on the Nittany Lions’ second play from scrimmage, and it worked to perfection. Quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley shifted pre-snap, and Barkley took the direct snap and raced 69 yards untouched for a touchdown.

After forcing a three-and-out, Penn State moved 78 yards in four plays, keyed by a 35-yard rainbow heave from McSorley to tight end Mike Gesicki. Barkley scored his second touchdown of the first quarter one play later, a 15-yard burst around the right side. 

But Penn State’s offense stalled from there. The Lions’ next possession ended in a McSorley interception, and the possession after that was a three-and-out that lost nine yards. Penn State penetrated Michigan territory midway through the second quarter, but Barkley dropped a wheel route that would’ve put the Lions inside the red zone. Penn State turned the ball over on downs two plays later.

Meanwhile, Michigan turned McSorley’s interception into an 11-play, 59-yard touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard Karan Higdon run on fourth-and-goal. Quinn Nordin missed the ensuing PAT.

After the turnover on downs, Michigan marched 67 yards on a series of John O’Korn plays — a 14-yard rush, an 18-yard strike to Donovan Peoples-Jones, and 23 yards to Kekoa CrawfordTy Isaac powered in from six yards out to pull the Wolverines within one with 1:45 to play before the half. 

Threatened for the first time of the evening, Penn State ended its streak of three straight unsuccessful drives with a 7-play, 75-yard march that consumed only 52 seconds. McSorley accounted for 68 yards on the drive, including a 3-yard rush to put the home team back up eight.

That momentum continued into the second half. The Lions opened the second half with a 9-play, 80-yard march that closed with McSorley’s second touchdown run and, after a three-and-out, Penn State’s backfield battery put the game out of reach with a 42-yard touchdown connection from McSorley to Barkley. McSorley closed the night hitting 17-of-26 throws for 282 yards with a touchdown and an interception and 11 carries for 76 yards and three scores. Barkley rushed 15 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns with three grabs for 53 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Penn State racked up 506 yards of total offense, more than double the 223.8 yards per game Michigan’s FBS-leading defense entered the night surrendering — and Franklin allowed the clock to expire with Penn State inside the Michigan 10-yard line and three timeouts in his pocket, so it could have been worse.

Trailing 35-13 early in the fourth quarter, Jim Harbaugh put together a last-chance drive to claw back in the game, but O’Korn was sacked on fourth down near midfield. McSorley’s third touchdown run of the night, a 9-yarder with 7:53 to play, added the exclamation point.

The win pushed Penn State to 7-0 on the season (4-0 Big Ten) and advanced the Nittany Lions into the game of the year in the Big Ten and perhaps the entire college football regular season: a visit to No. 6 Ohio State next Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox).

Michigan dropped to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play. Trailing Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State by two games and ceding the tie-breaker to the first two, the 2017 season officially takes on “rebuilding year” status as the Wolverines are now playing for positioning among the Tampa-Orlando-Jacksonville bowl games and 2018 preparation.

The Nittany Lions, though, are playing for much more, and they have Michigan to thank for that.

Penn State starts fast, but Michigan hanging around

Associated Press
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On a white out night in State College, Penn State threatened to blowout Michigan early, but the Wolverines battled back to a 21-13 deficit at the break.

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead pulled out a wrinkle on the Nittany Lions’ second play from scrimmage, and it worked to perfection. Quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley shifted pre-snap, and Barkley took the direct snap and raced 69 yards untouched for a touchdown.

After forcing a three-and-out, Penn State moved 78 yards in four plays, keyed by a 35-yard rainbow heave from McSorley to tight end Mike Gesicki. Barkley scored his second touchdown of the first quarter one play later, a 15-yard burst around the right side. 

But Penn State’s offense stalled from there. The Lions’ next possession ended in a McSorley interception, and the possession after that was a three-and-out that lost nine yards. Penn State penetrated Michigan territory midway through the second quarter, but Barkley dropped a wheel route that would’ve put the Lions inside the red zone. Penn State turned the ball over on downs two plays later.

Meanwhile, Michigan turned McSorley’s interception into an 11-play, 59-yard touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard Karan Higdon run on fourth-and-goal. Quinn Nordin missed the ensuing PAT.

After the turnover on downs, Michigan marched 67 yards on a series of John O’Korn plays — a 14-yard rush, an 18-yard strike to Donovan Peoples-Jones, and 23 yards to Kekoa CrawfordTy Isaac powered in from six yards out to pull the Wolverines within one with 1:45 to play before the half. 

Threatened for the first time of the evening, Penn State ended its streak of three straight unsuccessful drives with a 7-play, 75-yard march that consumed only 52 seconds. McSorley accounted for 68 yards on the drive, including a 3-yard rush to put the home team back up eight.

O’Korn closed the half hitting 7-of-9 passes for 63 yards, while a host of Wolverines runners combined to rush 22 times for 78 yards.

McSorley hit 10-of-18 passes for 159 yards with an interception with five carries for 26 yards and a score. Barkley rushed 11 times for 109 yards and two scores, while DaeSean Hamilton caught three passes for 69 yards.

Michigan will receive to open the second half.

Dad of RB Kingston Davis says son will transfer from Michigan

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Michigan’s the latest football program to see its roster hit with the annual spring personnel attrition.

The father of Kingston Davis confirmed to Sam Webb of Scout.com that his son informed UM officials earlier Friday of his intention to transfer from the Wolverines.  Apparently there were two reasons that triggered the running back’s decision: a crowded backfield and chatter that he would be changing positions.

While 2016 leading rusher De'Veon Smith is gone, the Wolverines’ second-, third- and fourth-leading rushers from last season — rising sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards), rising junior Karan Higdon (425), rising fifth-year senior Ty Isaac (417) — all return. Kareem Walker, a four-star 2016 recruit rated as the No. 4 running back in the country, sat out last season because of academics but should be a part of the rotation as a redshirt freshman. They also added four-star (O'Maury Samuels) and three-star (Kurt Taylor) backs as part of their 2017 recruiting class.

A three-star 2016 recruit, Davis was rated as the No. 1 fullback in the country in that year’s class. As a true freshman, the 6-1, 245-pound back carried the ball twice for 17 yards.

Iowa stuns No. 3 Michigan in deja vu thriller

AP
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The last time Jim Harbaugh went to Iowa City, his No. 2-ranked Wolverines lost to Iowa on a last-second field goal. History repeated itself Saturday night.

Keith Duncan knocked in a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give his Hawkeyes a 14-13 win over No. 3 Michigan. Coupled with losses by No. 2 Clemson and No. 4 Washington, Iowa’s win secured the first day in which Nos. 2, 3 and 4 lost on the same day since… Oct. 19, 1985 — the same day No. 2 Michigan lost to No. 1 Iowa in Harbaugh’s last visit to Kinnick Stadium.

Michigan had a chance to chill away a win when Channing Stribling intercepted C.J. Beathard at the Michigan 16-yard line with 1:54 remaining, but the Wolverines — as was the case the entire second half — could not move the ball. An incomplete pass on 3rd-and-8, with Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight throwing on a bum shoulder, stopped the clock at 1:36, and an 8-yard Desmond King punt return aided by a ticky-tack 15-yard facemask penalty gave Iowa the ball at the Michigan 36.

Iowa moved into field goal territory after its first play on the ensuing possession, but an 8-yard Beathard draw on 3rd-and-7 with 16 seconds remaining turned Duncan’s field goal into a chip shot.

Playing in their first true road game of the year — Rutgers don’t count — Michigan jumped out to a 10-0 lead when a botched fake punt set the Wolverines up for a short field and a 26-yard Kenny Allen field goal at the 4-minute mark of the first quarter and, one Iowa missed field goal later, a 9-play, 72-yard march resulted in a 7-yard Ty Isaac scoring run midway through the second quarter.

But Michigan’s offense struggled mightily to move the ball for the rest of the night, starting with a De'Veon Smith safety on the Wolverines’ next possession to put the Hawkeyes on the board. Iowa didn’t score on the next possession, but a 3-and-out resulted in a 7-play, 52-yard drive culminating in a 3-yard pass from Beathard to Akrum Wadley on 4th-and-goal to pull the Hawkeyes within 10-8 at the half.

Michigan fumbled the second half kickoff, and Iowa moved 36 yards in five minutes to set Keith Duncan up for a go-ahead 25-yard chip shot. After four straight punts, Michigan moved back in front when Allen nailed a 51-yard field goal at the 9:35 mark of the fourth quarter.

Michigan could not protect that lead, though, as Speight was intercepted in field goal range with 3:43 remaining. After starting hot, Speight closed the day hitting only 11-of-26 passes for 103 yards and an interception, while the ground game pounded out only 98 yards on 35 carries.

Iowa threw for only 66 yards but managed to rush for 164 yards on 64 clock-chewing carries.

In addition to serving as the highlight of the season, Iowa clinches a bowl trip by moving to 6-4 on the season.

Michigan, meanwhile, drops to 9-1 on the season and 6-1 in the Big Ten, still needing a win at Ohio State on Nov. 26 to reach the Big Ten championship and, ultimately, the College Football Playoff.

Michigan holds slight lead over Iowa at the break

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Iowa leads the box score but Michigan leads the scoreboard through one half in Iowa City.

A 7-yard Ty Isaac touchdown run has staked Michigan to a 10-8 lead despite the Wolverines gaining 124 total yards to Iowa’s 130. The Wolverines led 10-0 after Isaac’s score, then put Iowa on the scoreboard when DeVeon Smith was tackled inside his own end zone for a safety.

Iowa mounted a 7-play, 52-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard C.J. Beathard toss to Akrum Wadley with 1:27 to go before the break to pull within six. The Hawkeyes went for two but Beathard’s pass fell incomplete.

Wilton Speight started hot but closed the half hitting 8-of-17 throws for 79 yards. Michigan has rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries.

Beathard hit 6-of-13 throws for 51 yards with a score, and Wadley has rushed 10 times for 47 yards.

Michigan will receive to open the second half.