Five Things We Learned: Michigan
Sixth-ranked Penn State was able to advance to 7-0 on a game-winning goal-line stand as Michigan was threating to tie the game up 28-28. Here are the five things we learned from Penn State's victory over Michigan 28-21:
The running game will be led by a committee
Fans were calling for Noah Cain to be the starting running back after his 102-rushing yards on 22 carriers versus Iowa. However, that was not the case as Journey Brown got the start at running back. Cain was used shortly in the first half then used as Penn State was closing out the game.
The majority of the reps at running back was led by Brown and Ricky Slade. Slade recorded 48 yards on three carriers and Brown rushed for 19 yards on four carries. Devyn Ford was only used once and gained two yards. James Franklin has made it clear that the running game will be led by committee.
Sean Clifford continues to impress
Sean Clifford looked more confident than any other game he has played this season. Sean Clifford improved on his two biggest issues: not starting efficiently and trouble with the deep ball.
Clifford connected to his tight end Pat Freiermuth in the right corner of the end zone midway in the first quarter. On the same drive, Clifford launched a 37-yard pass to Jahan Dotson. In the second quarter, Sean Clifford lofted a 25-yard pass to his favorite target to KJ Hamler to put Penn State up 21-0 before halftime. Sean Clifford connected to KJ Hamler again in the fourth quarter on a 53-yard pass to put Penn State up 28-14. Consistency is key for Sean Clifford.
Penn State has a top ten defense
Michigan controlled in time of possession producing 21 points. Nerveless the defensive unit stepped up in crucial moments such as the goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter. The combination of Micah Parsons and Cam Brown was instrumental in Penn State's win. Parsons recorded 14 tackles (six solos) and Cam Brown recorded 10 tackles (two solos), along with Tariq Castro-Fields eight tackles and one interception.
KJ Hamler is Penn States X factor
Star players have more responsibilities than being flashy and talking trash. KJ Hamler’s game backs up his flashy personality. The elusive wide receiver reeled in six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
The Clifford-Hamler connection was evident as KJ Hamler averaged 18 yards per reception. Hamler was the best player on the field and that was evident as he put his body on the line spinning to gain the few yards needed to seal the game for Penn State.
Penn State’s argument for the Rose Bowl
The upset of Wisconsin to Illinois has shaken up the New Year’s Six predictions. If Wisconsin loses another game and loses the Big Ten Championship, an argument could be made for Penn State to play in the Rose Bowl.
Jordan Hession is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.