Penn State Exacts Revenge on Michigan
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – Penn State turned in a dominant performance against the Michigan Wolverines, answering any questions about the legitimacy of its perfect record by soundly beating the Wolverines, 42-13.
Saquon Barkley had yet another Heisman-worthy performance in front of a record crowd of 110,823 people in attendance for the annual whiteout.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and the environment was unreal,” head coach James Franklin said.
Barkley finished with 108 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, as well as 53 yards receiving on three catches with a score.
Last season, Michigan beat Penn State 49-10 in Ann Arbor, which was something of a rallying cry for players.
“It absolutely felt good to return the favor,” Senior captain Jason Cabinda said “It tastes sweet, real sweet.”
Penn State dominated Michigan in every facet of the game. In the first half alone, Penn State gained 302 yards of offense which was more than Michigan had allowed in a single game all year.
Barkley got things going on the second play of the game with a new wrinkle from offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. Barkley took the direct snap from the shotgun and raced 69 yards to the end zone for a touchdown.
“I think the chance that we could show a lot of new looks that we haven’t showed,” Franklin said.
After a three and out for Michigan, the Nittany Lions drove down the field at ease and capped off their second drive with a Barkley 15-yard run to the corner of the end zone.
Penn State closed out the first quarter leading 14-0. They are yet to allow a point in the first quarter this year, out-scoring opponents 90-0 in the opening frame. Penn State is the only team in the FBS to not allow a point in the first quarter.
“Everyone’s been talking about their defense but I think we have a pretty darn good defense as well,” Franklin said.
Michigan responded in the second quarter with a strong drive of their own, ending in a Karan Higdon touchdown from one yard out. Former Penn State recruit Quinn Nordin missed the extra point, much to the pleasure of Penn State’s student section.
Another score for Michigan from running back Ty Isaac brought an uncomfortable vibe into Beaver Stadium with the score at 14-13 in favor of Penn State.
Trace McSorley was able to answer the call, leading a late drive at the end of the half. After big pass plays to DaeSean Hamilton and Mike Gesicki, the ball was set up at the 3-yard line. McSorley took it from there, running the ball into the end zone with 53 seconds left on the clock in the first half to extend Penn State’s lead to 21-13.
Penn State’s defense held Michigan scoreless in the second half led by Jason Cabinda, who finished the game with a game-high 13 tackles.
“Everyone is talking about their defense, their defense, their defense, so we had to come out and make a statement, and I think we did today,” Cabinda said.
Offensively, the Lions initially stalled to begin the third quarter but Trace McSorley once again led the team down the field, punctuating the drive with a 13-yard rushing touchdown.
Barkley got back in the mix in the beginning of the fourth quarter when he caught a 42-yard pass from McSorley. As the throw fell into Barkley’s hands, he juggled the ball around as he crossed the plane into the end zone to make the play. This pass from McSorley extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 22.
The scoring concluded with a 9-yard rush from McSorley, making the score 42-13. This set a career high for McSorley with three rushing touchdowns in the game.
Penn State will not have a break for long as they will travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes next week.
Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.