|Score by Quarters
||UM - Garrett Rivas 35-yard field goal
||UM - Michael Hart 2-yard run (Rivas kick)
||PSU - Kevin Kelly 25-yard field goal
||PSU - Michael Robinson 4-yard run (Kelly kick)
||PSU - Alan Zemaitis 35-yard fumble recovery (Kelly
||UM - Mario Manningham 33-yard pass from Henne (Rivas
||UM - Garrett Rivas 47-yard field goal
||PSU - Michael Robinson 3-yard run (Kelly kick)
||UM - Mario Manningham 10-yard pass from Henne (Rivas
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - As the flashbulbs sparkled like stars above their
heads, as the yellow tempest that surrounded them shook the Michigan
Stadium turf they stood upon, Penn State's players, frozen in their frustration,
wondered where it all had gone.
The stirring victory that seemed to be theirs, the dreams of an unbeaten
season, and those mysterious two seconds the officials put back on the clock,
two seconds that ultimately gave the Wolverines a remarkable victory.
All they knew was that so soon after they had gleefully celebrated the
Michael Robinson touchdown that capped a stirring last-minute, 81-yard drive,
they were dejected, puzzled and, worst of all, beaten.
A wild back-and-forth, 39-point fourth quarter ended when, with no time
left, Mario Manningham broke free and snared Chad Henne's 10-yard touchdown pass,
giving the Wolverines an improbable 27-25 Big Ten triumph.
The dramatic win may have saved Michigan (4-3, 2-2) from its first losing
season in 38 years. It definitely will keep Penn State (6-1, 3-1) from its first
unbeaten season since 1994.
"That was a great football game," said a dejected Joe Paterno,
who refused to let his Nittany Lions talk with reporters afterward. "Those
kids really hung in there. I'm proud of them. But I'm disappointed for them." No
one in Nittany Nation could have felt any differently.
Instead of separating themselves from the Big Ten pack, the heartbreaking
loss - their seventh in a row to Michigan - left the Lions in a pack of at least
five teams with one defeat. They will likely drop from their No. 8 national ranking,
too. Worst of all, they might have to face the rest of the season without sensational
freshman Derrick Williams.
The speedy wideout, who had six catches for 59 yards, was injured on a
late kickoff and left the field surrounded by medical personnel, his left arm
wrapped and in a sling. He will be examined further in State College.
"I'm really not sure what happened," Paterno said. "I know
he wasn't able to be in there on our last drive."
That drive began with 2 minutes, 46 seconds left in a fourth quarter that
had begun with Michigan leading by 10-3.
Then Penn State leaped ahead, scoring twice in 17 seconds - Robinson on
a four-yard run with 11:56 to go and, after stripping the ball from Henne on
Michigan's next play, Alan Zemaitis on a 35-yard fumble recovery. Following Kelly's
two-point conversion after a bad snap, Penn State was ahead, 18-10.
But Michigan, which already had lost more games (two) at home than it
had in 11 years, struck back quickly, Henne hitting Manningham on a perfectly
thrown and wonderfully caught 33-yard scoring play. After a two-pointer of their
own, the Wolverines had tied the game.
Garrett Rivas' 47-yard field goal with 3:45 to play gave them a lead,
21-18, before Robinson, cajoling teammates on the sideline and on the field,
"These two teams really got after each other," Paterno said. "I
thought Michael [Robinson] did a great job."
With Robinson scrambling for a first down on a fourth and 7,
connecting with wideouts Terrell Golden and Jordan Norwood,
from a pass-interference call inside the Michigan 5, the Nittany Lions
found themselves with a first and goal at the Wolverines 3.
From there, the determined quarterback rumbled into the end zone with
just 53 seconds remaining, touching off a joyful outburst on the Penn State sideline.
Robinson finished the day with two touchdowns and 67 yards on 17 carries as well
as 19 completions on 34 attempts for another 239 yards.
Tailback Tony Hunt managed 102 on 14 rushes, including a 61-yarder that
set up the Robinson's first fourth-period score. His Michigan counterpart, Mike
Hart, had 108 on 23 carries.
Penn State led, 25-21, when on the sideline, Paterno and his assistants
discussed the ensuing kickoff.
"We talked about [a squib]," he said. "We probably should
have power-kicked it to the other side of the field from that kid."
That kid was Steve Breaston. Freshman Kevin Kelly - who missed two field
goals, made a 25-yarder, and ran in a two-point conversion - kicked it right
to the Wolverines speedster. Breaston eluded a tackler, crossed the field, and
returned the ball 41 yards to Michigan's 47.
Henne completed two passes for 21 yards, and there were 28 seconds left.
Or so everyone but Michigan coach Lloyd Carr believed.
Carr called over the officials, complained that the clock had run after
he was granted a time-out, and demanded that five seconds be restored. The officials
agreed to give him two.
Those two seconds were the difference between victory and defeat.
Paterno balked at the officials' explanation. "I told them, 'Ah,
baloney!' " he said. "What do you want me to say?" he continued. "There's
nothing I can do. They gave them two seconds. They won the ball game. It's over."
Michigan had moved to Penn State's 10 with six seconds left when Breaston
couldn't handle a Henne pass on the sideline. Ironically, had he caught it, the
game would have ended.
Then one second remained. The crowd of 111,249, many of them wearing maize
shirts in an effort to rally their disappointing team, screamed and stomped as
Henne took the snap.
Manningham, who had caught the 33-yard touchdown earlier in the wild fourth
quarter, broke free of cornerback Zemaitis. Safety Calvin Lowry was slow to pick
"They didn't bring any blitzes, so we just stuck with our regular
protection," Henne said. "They gave us the coverage we wanted to see."
Henne hit Manningham in the numbers, and all of Michigan Stadium - save
the area occupied by the unmoving white-uniformed Nittany Lions - exploded in
"I've had a number of wild games in the past few years," Carr
said, "but I've never had a wilder game than this one."
Their slow march off the field, filing into the same dark tunnel as the
jubilant Wolverines, was a parade of misery for the Lions.
"I just want to get them on the bus, get them to the airport, and
go home," Paterno said. "We've got to get them ready for next week."