|Score by Quarters
||MICH - A. Arrington 25-yard pass from Henne (Rivas kick)
||MICH - Garrett Rivas 23-yard field goal
||PSU - Kevin Kelly 22-yard field goal
||MICH - Mike Hart 1-yard run
||PSU - Tony Hunt 43-yard pass from Cianciolo (Kelly kick)
UNIVERSITY PARK -- They made it a game, after many of the fans had abandoned
their posts and wandered out into the cold night. After Michigan, with
its stubborn offense and relentless defense had threatened to blow the
doors open all evening.
But all the Nittany Lions could do, in the end, was count up their
chances. They had made it a game on one of the rowdier nights in Beaver
Stadium history, but this game, like too many others in this series, belonged
The No. 4 Wolverines (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) knocked Penn State's top
two quarterbacks out of the game and had its way with the rest of the
Nittany Lions' offense Saturday in a physical 17-10 triumph before an
announced 110,007, the second-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history.
"We made one or two mistakes," coach Joe Paterno said
quietly after the game. "They didn't make any."
Michigan wasn't flashy, simply effective. Lloyd Carr's team built
leads of 10-0 and 17-3, then held off a late -- and largely unexpected
-- Nittany Lion rally.
Third-string quarterback Paul Cianciolo tossed a screen pass to
tailback Tony Hunt, who broke a couple of tackles and hot-footed it to
the end zone from 43 yards out, cutting Michigan's lead to 17-10 with
3:18 to play. The Penn State defense, despite a tough, clock-eating, 23-yard
run from tailback Mike Hart, got its offense the ball back with 1:44 to
But Cianciolo, in relief of the injured Anthony Morelli and Daryll
Clark, hadn't thrown a career pass at Penn State until Saturday. Limping
after yet another hit from the Michigan defense, the redshirt sophomore
misfired on three of his final four pass attempts, the last over the head
of Jordan Norwood. Michigan put a knee down twice and went home with its
eighth straight defeat of the Nittany Lions (4-3, 2-2).
Michigan had its defense to thank. The nation's best unit against
the run coming in, allowing just 40.3 yards per game, the Wolverines held
Penn State to an eye-popping minus-14 net yards on 25 attempts, a number
greatly skewed by Michigan's seven quarterback sacks.
The Nittany Lions, who had allowed just six quarterback sacks in
their first six games, had no answer for Michigan defensive ends LaMarr
Woodley and Rondell Biggs, who recorded two sacks apiece, or for mammoth
defensive tackle Alan Branch, who was sackless but broke up the pocket
all evening and delivered the hit that sent Morelli to the sidelines with
a concussion midway through the third quarter.
Penn State's offensive line, despite the return of starters Levi
Brown and Robert Price, couldn't do much against the best defensive line
it has faced in quite some time.
"We knew it would be tough going in," Paterno said. "We
thought we'd do a little better than that."
When given time, Morelli did fine, completing 11 of 18 passes for
133 yards. His receivers didn't help him out, dropping several well-thrown
But there was often no place to go for the quarterback, and no
daylight for Hunt, who had been averaging 111.5 yards per game but was
held to 33 on 13 carries. The senior had 85 yards on five receptions but
the Penn State offense could not establish any rhythm.
It was a different story for Hart, quarterback Chad Henne and
Michigan. Hart had 112 yards rushing and a touchdown on 26 carries, always
falling forward and almost always breaking at least one tackle.
Apparently unnerved by the raucous crowd, Henne was cool, calm
and, most importantly, well-protected against a wave of Penn State blitzes.
The junior from Wyomissing was just 15-of-30 for 196 yards in his return
to Pennsylvania but never put his team in a bad position. Adrian Arrington
made up for the loss of injured wideout Mario Manningham, providing a
big-play presence with 83 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Penn State failed to capitalize on its first possession. Freshman
A.J. Wallace returned the game's opening kickoff 46 yards to midfield,
but the drive stalled at the Michigan 29-yard line when the usually sure-handed
Jordan Norwood dropped a third-down pass.
Kevin Kelly, who has struggled with field goals all season long,
missed a 46-yard attempt wide left, and the Nittany Lions quickly handed
over whatever momentum they had. Penn State picked up 4 yards on three
plays on its next possession, then committed the game's only turnover
when Derrick Williams fumbled a punt return and Michigan's Obi Oluigbo
recovered the ball at the Penn State 48-yard line.
Michigan opened the second quarter with a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Henne completed passes to Arrington (15 yards), Steve Breaston (11 yards)
and a 25-yard dart between two Penn State defenders to Arrington for the
game's first touchdown. After another Penn State three-and-out, a 27-yard
completion to Arrington set up a 23-yard field goal by Garrett Rivas
A pass interference call finally sparked the Penn State offense
on the final possession of the first half. Key third-down passes from
Morelli to Hunt (31 yards) and Norwood (16 yards), got the Nittany Lions
inside the red zone. Penn State had a second-and-goal at the Michigan
5-yard line, but Morelli threw a pair of incompletions and Penn State
had to settle for Kelly's 22-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the
Linebacker Sean Lee led Penn State with nine tackles, but the best
player on the field for the Nittany Lions was defensive end/linebacker
Tim Shaw, who made six tackles and a sack and broke up two passes.
Paterno was proud of the way his defense played and proud of the
effort his team showed but frustrated that the Lions, for the third time
this season, couldn't put it together against a top-five foe. The Nittany
Lions host Illinois at noon Saturday.
"We probably did play as good as we can play," he said,
not really sounding convinced. "I don't know."