(Photo Credit: Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog)
After back-to-back-to-back underwhelming performances, it wasn’t a surprise to see Michigan struggle against a highly ranked team, like Penn State. However, it was a surprise to see just how ugly that performance would be as the Wolverines were whooped 42-13 by the Nittany Lions in front of a national audience.
This game started ugly and ended ugly with just a glimmer of hope in the middle. On just the second play of the game, Saquan Barkley took his first hand off to the house from 69 yards out. That was followed up with a 3 and out (-2 yards in total) from Michigan and a four play touchdown drive from Penn State, making it 14-0 before anyone knew what happened. But the young Wolverines fought back with David Long picking off Trace McSorely on a nice zone coverage read and setting up a Karan Higdon score on 4th and goal. Though Quinn Nordin missed the extra point, Michigan was able to keep the momentum going and eventually making it 14-13 late in the 2nd quarter.
But that was it for the Michigan offense as Penn State scored the next 28 points behind several big passing plays and zone-read runs from McSorely.
Though the defense was actually able to bottle up Barkley on the ground (he added a receiving touchdown late), as he only gained 39 yards on last 14 of his carries after his first carry went for 69 yards. But it was far from enough as McSorely gashed Don Brown’s boys unlike they’ve ever been gashed during his time in Ann Arbor.
As for the offense, it wasn’t good again. There were some decent plays made by O’Korn, Hidgon, Isaac, Perry, McDoom, DPJ and McKeon, that side of the ball has a long ways to go before it’ll be able to take some heat off of the defense and allow the team to truly compete for a national championship. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Brandon Peters to get plenty of time next week against Rutgers as Harbaugh and the staff need to see what they have in the redshirt freshmen now while playing time is available this season.
- CB David Long
- Long had a huge pick in the first half to stop Penn State from making it 21-0 early on and ended up setting up Michigan for its first touchdown of the game. Though he still has a ways to go, it was a good sign for things to come for the sophomore corner.
- RB Ty Isaac
- It wasn’t his best performance of the season but Isaac picked up some nice gains when the Michigan offense was pretty stagnant. He also added a big touchdown run in the 2nd quarter to make it 14-13. It looks to be him and Higdon as the main running back options.
- WR Eddie McDoom
- McDoom has been one of the more disappointing offensive players in the first half of the season but was used much more effectively against Penn State. He wasn’t the top receiver for Michigan but his speed was on display and finally helped get the Wolverines into scoring opportunities. It’s something that the offense badly needs moving forward. We’ll see if this was just the first sign of things to come.
- Other Options
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
- WR Grant Perry
- DE Rashan Gary
Check out the highlights and post game Inside Michigan Football from the 2017 Michigan vs. Penn State game:
What were your biggest takeaways from Michigan’s second loss of the season? Is it time for Brandon Peters? What’s the biggest issue with the team at this point? Let us know in the comment section below!