Five Things We Learned: Michigan

Story posted October 22, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Kaplan

In front of 110,823, the largest crowd to watch Penn State football at Beaver Stadium, No. 2 Penn State pulled off a convincing 42-13 win over No. 19 Michigan.

This win improved the Nittany Lions to 5-5 in white outs overall, 3-2 in white out games against Michigan, but most importantly 7-0 on the season.

The impressive win certainly bodes well momentum-wise as Penn State started the hardest part of the schedule with a win that gives them confidence heading on the road the next two weeks. Here are five things we learned from an impressive win over Michigan:

1.     The Penn State offense is not afraid of going up against an elite defense

Michigan’s defense had not allowed more than 198 yards passing or 100 yards rushing by any player in a game so far this season. Trace McSorley was able to throw for 282 yards and Saquon Barkley was able to rush for 108 yards, shattering both marks on Saturday. The Wolverine defense had also only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season, but allowed five in this game. McSorley accounted for three of them and Barkley accounted for two. 

2.     Saquon Barkley had a pair of Heisman moments and continues to make history

Barkley managed to have two touchdowns on the Wolverines less than five minutes into the game from 69 and 15 yards respectively. The 69 yard run was impressive enough considering it came from the second play from scrimmage, but Barkley’s 42 yard bobbling touchdown catch to start the fourth quarter completely put the game out of reach for Penn State. With 108 rushing yards on Saturday, Barkley (3,329 career rushing yards) is now third all-time in program history behind only Evan Royster (3,932) and Curt Warner (3,398).

3.     James Franklin continues to have his team ready for big games

In his first two years at Penn State, Franklin was criticized for not being able to get over the hump against division rivals Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. Franklin has now beaten all three within the span of a year. He was able to get his first win over Jim Harbaugh and now has a chance to pull off the trifecta the next two weeks as his team will travel to Columbus and East Lansing.

4.     When Penn State shows up physically, they can dominate at the line of scrimmage

After all the talk of the physicality of the Michigan defense, it was the Penn State defense that showed up and bullied the Wolverines. Jason Cabinda always seem to play at his best in big games, with 13 tackles (1 TFL) and a sack, he did his job as the leader of the defense. Combined, the Nittany Lions sacked John O’Korn seven times and had eight tackles for loss.

5.     Penn State belongs in the national championship conversation

Penn State finally has a win over a ranked opponent after being questioned by many around the country for having an easy start to the season. Blowing Michigan out at home will definitely send some messages around the country, as Penn State passed the first of three major tests in a row with flying colors. With College Gameday heading to Columbus, it is up to the Nittany Lions to handle the pressure of being in the spotlight for the second week in a row.


Zach Kaplan is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email