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Ohio State has late first-half breakdown but leads Michigan at halftime, 24-19

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Ohio State had a 21-6 lead in the final minute of the first half. Then, just a couple of plays later, it was a two-point game. But before the end of the half was over, Ohio State padded their lead in a wild final minute of the first half and the Buckeyes have a 24-19 lead on the Wolverines at the break.

Dwayne Haskins has thrown three touchdowns in the half, including two to freshman Chris Olave and things were looking quite rosy for the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon. But a late touchdown drive by Michigan on a pass from Shea Patterson to Nico Collins was quickly followed by a special teams disaster on a fair catch that gave Michigan another quick possession. A quick touchdown and a failed two-point attempt cut the Ohio State lead to 21-19, but Haskins and company quickly moved down the field to get into position for a field goal after being held out of the end zone.

After the Ohio State defense forced a three-and-out to open the game, the Buckeyes offense got the first points of the game on their first offensive series. Dwayne Haskins got the drive started with a nine-yard run, picked up a first down two plays later with a 16-yard pass to Parris Campbell and ended the drive a few plays later with a 24-yard pass to Chris Olave, who had a clear path to the end zone on the left side of the field. Ohio State became the third team this season to score any points on their first offensive series against the Wolverines, joining Notre Dame and Northwestern.

Michigan managed to cut into the lead but failed to get into the end zone. A dropped pass for what would have been a touchdown by Zach Gentry left Michigan to settle for a field goal from the Ohio State 13-yard line, and a chance to convert a short fourth down at the Ohio State 42-yard line was thwarted by having to burn a timeout for too many men on the field and followed up by a false start penalty to force Michigan to punt. Ohio State capitalized on that opportunity by going 80 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 14-6. Once again, Olave was the receiver catching the football for the score.

Haskins has thrown three touchdowns in the game so far, with his third going to a wide open Johnnie Dixon on a 31-yard pass later in the second quarter. Late in the firts half, Michigan needed to get something to be optimistic about and they certainly did with a fantastic effort by Collins for a much-needed touchdown, which was followe dby a special teams mistake by Ohio State on the ensuing kickoff.

Patterson quickly completed a touchdown pass to Chris Evans but Patterson was taken down for a loss on the two-point conversion attempt.

Ohio State gets the ball to start the second half. The winner of this game wins the Big Ten East Division and advances to the Big Ten championship game to face Northwestern next week in Indianapolis. A spot in the College Football Playoff also is potentially on the line as well, perhaps more so for Michigan than Ohio State.

Kick Six: Freshman kicker Jake Moody has record-setting performance as No. 4 Michigan tops Indiana

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It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but No. 4 Michigan (10-1, 8-0 Big Ten) kicked enough field goals to stay ahead of Indiana (5-6, 2-6 Big Ten) for a 31-20 victory that leaves Michigan alone in first place in the Big Ten East Division with one game left to play. Freshman kicker Jake Moody was the star of the game for Michigan after successfully kicking all six field goal attempts he tried, a school record for made kicks without a miss. It just so happened to be his first game for Michigan.

Chase Winovich left the game in the third quarter with an upper-body injury. Winovich was shoved to the ground by Indiana offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak, who then fell on top of Winovich as he was laying on the ground. No call for unsportsmanlike conduct was called on Stepaniak despite appearing to decide to fall on the Wolverine as he was on the ground, although Stepaniak was flagged for a late hit on a Michigan player shortly after the injury. Winovich left for the locker room after coming off the field and his parents were later escorted from the stands to see their son as the game continued.

Michigan also lost Berkley Edwards to a more serious-looking injury in the fourth quarter. Edwards was left laying on the ground on a special teams return by Michigan after being blocked by Cam Jones. Jones was ejected for targeting, which means he will have to sit out the first half of next week’s game. Edwards was tended to for roughly 10 minutes before being taken out on a stretcher. It was reported Edwards did have motion in his extremities moments later.

Devin Bush and David Long were also banged up late in the game as well, leaving Michigan hurting just a little bit on defense.

Michigan will be on the road next week to play at No. 10 Ohio State. Because the Buckeyes survived in overtime earlier in the day at Maryland in a wild one, the winner of next week’s rivalry matchup between historic Big Ten powers will be crowned the East Division champion. A win will send either Michigan or Ohio State to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship the following week, where they will face West Division champion Northwestern. The winner of next week’s game will also remain in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Indiana will conclude the regular season at home next week against Purdue. The Hoosiers will need to win in order to become bowl-eligible this season. Purdue will also be playing for bowl eligibility after losing a triple-overtime thriller to Wisconsin on Saturday. Winner goes bowling, loser stays home.

No. 5 Michigan’s revenge tour adds No. 14 Penn State to the list

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The revenge tour for No. 5 Michigan (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten) had quite the second half performance against No. 14 Penn State (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) on Saturday. The Wolverines dominated the hapless Nittany Lions 42-7 in a loud statement game in the latest game on Michigan’s revenge tour this season. Now with wins nailed down against three of the four teams to beat them last year (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State), the eyes in Ann Arbor are already looking forward to the regular season finale against Ohio State for the grand finale.

Michigan’s defense, led by revenge tour frontman linebacker Chase Winovich set the tone in the first half by allowing just one third-down conversion to the Nittany Lions before halftime. Winovich sacked Trace McSorley and recovered a fumble in the first half as Michigan took a 14-0 lead into halftime with a Shea Patterson touchdown run and a pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Michigan continued to wear down Penn State on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the field, with the offense staying on the field for 11 minutes in the third quarter alone and doubling the lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Michigan delivered what felt like the knockout blow at the end of the third quarter when Patterson tossed a touchdown pass to Zach Gentry at the end of a 90-yard drive. Penn State’s defense appeared to be gassed on the drive after spending over 11 minutes on the field in the third quarter. But just moments later, that lopsided 21-0 lead became 28-0 when Tommy Stevens came in to replace McSorley at quarterback and Stevens tossed a pick-six to Brandon Watson.

With memories of Penn State running up the score on them a year ago in Happy Valley, Michigan continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter with more big plays on the ground. Karan Higdon (132 rushing yards) and Chris Evans (57 rushing yards) each scored a short touchdown run to pad the lead as Michigan continued to look like the class of the Big Ten. A late touchdown run by Stevens allowed Penn State to avoid being shutout for the first time since 2001, against Michigan.

The home team in this series has won by a lopsided score in each of the last three meetings, and the winning team has scored at least 42 points in each.

Michigan continues to build a steady place atop the Big Ten East standings. Now at 6-0 in Big Ten play, Michigan owns a one-game lead over Ohio State and a two-game lead over Michigan State with a head-to-head tiebreaker on the Spartans already under their belt. Penn State falls to 3-3 in Big Ten play and is now eliminated from contention for the Big Ten championship game with head-to-head losses to all three teams in front of them (Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State). With just Rutgers and Indiana left to play before ending the year on the road against Ohio State, it sure looks as though the Big Ten East could be decided in the regular season finale in Columbus, but Ohio State has been cracking and the possibility exists Michigan could clinch the East division before having to face Ohio State.

Michigan will be on the road against Rutgers next week. Penn State will look to rebound next week at home against Wisconsin. It will be the toughest game remaining for Penn State.

Michigan flexing on Penn State, pitching shutout in Big House

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When on the road against a top five team, you simply cannot make as many mistakes as Penn State did in the first half against Michigan. As a result, Penn State finds themselves trailing the Wolverines 14-0 in Ann Arbor, and it doesn’t really feel that close of a game. Failures on third downs, penalties, questionable coaching decisions and an inability to take advantage of opportunities have burned Penn State after one half, while Michigan continues to stick to their identity of power running and defense to hold the upper hand.

Penn State came out swinging on the first play of the game with Trace McSorley completing a 25-yard pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth to get the Nittany Lions to midfield, but back-to-back sacks by Chase Winovich and Josh Uche forced Penn State to punt the ball from their own 36-yard line. Penn State also had to burn a timeout on the punt too.

Karan Higdon then went to work on the ground, carrying the ball on each of Michigan’s first three plays with gains of one, 10, and 50 to get into the red zone. Quarterback Shea Patterson would be the player to get the Wolverines on the board a few plays later with a keeper off to the left side of the line.

Penn State appeared to create a great opportunity early in the second quarter with a blocked field goal attempt by former Penn State commitment Quinn Nordin. A return for a touchdown was taken off the board due to nullifying chop block penalties by Michigan and Penn State, but the Nittany Lions took over at the 35-yard line and quickly advanced to midfield following a pass interference penalty on the Wolverines. But one play later, McSorley and running back Miles Sanders had confusion on a handoff and Winovich pounced on a fumbled ball out of McSorley’s hands.

Michigan stuck with their running game to do most of the damage from there and Patterson ended a 10-play drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to an open Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 14-0 lead.

Penn State didn’t pick up a third down conversion until the final two and a half minutes of the second quarter. At that point, Michigan held Penn State to -2 rushing yards while the Wolverines had 122 yards on the ground in the first half. Later in the half, Penn State appeared to be threatening to at least get some point son the scoreboard before halftime, but a missed wide open pass by McSorley to his intended receiver (DeAndre Thompkins) for an easy touchdown was followed by a sack on third down by Jordan Glasgow to move the ball well out of field goal position.

Michigan appears to be in great shape at the half, but Penn State is not buried just yet. If the Wolverines continue to pound away though, they could walk away with a big win against Penn State.

Jim Harbaugh calls Michigan State pregame march ‘bush league’

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After coaching his team to a 21-7 win at Michigan State on Saturday, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh let it be known he was not a fan of what transpired on the field prior to the game as players were warming up. Harbaugh referred to the actions of Michigan State as bush league in his postgame comments when asked about the pregame shenanigans in Spartan Stadium.

Michigan State’s entire team marched up the field form the end zone to midfield with arms interlocked, which they typically do as part of their pregame routine. While doing so, they made their way through a couple of Michigan players without stopping, causing a bit of a fuss before kickoff. As a result, Devin Bush was seen kicking and scraping up the midfield logo of the Spartans.

“I just heard about it, I didn’t see it,” Harbaugh said. “Clotheslined a couple of our guys, took off their helmets… One of their guys ripped off [Lavert Hill]’s headphones.”

Harbaugh then directed his ire at his coaching adversary, Mark Dantonio, as he continued on with his comments on the sequence of events.

“Total bush league and apparently Coach Dantonio was five yards behind it all smiling,” Harbaugh said. “I think it’s bush league, that’s my impression of it.”

Michigan linebacker Chase Winovich also had some comments to say after the game, saying sometimes you have to put your little brother in his place.

Michigan State players did initially attempt to defend the midfield logo after losing to their rivals from Ann Arbor, but once Michigan State players left the field, the celebration was on for the Wolverines.

Clearly, this game means something to both Michigan and Michigan State. This year, the spoils of victory went to Michigan.