|Michigan 14, Penn State 9|
|September 22, 2007|
|Michigan Stadium - Ann Arbor, MI|
|Kickoff Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT|
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Joe Paterno sat before the microphones and tape
recorders and fought to keep the frown from his face. He had wondered
during this past week, and possibly for the whole season, what sort of
mettle his Penn State team possessed, and he had figured Saturdays
visit to Michigan Stadium would provide some answers. It did, but not
the ones he had been hoping for.
Morelli missed an open Deon Butler on third-and-5 from the 11-yard line in the second quarter (Penn State settled for Kellys 28-yard field goal) and tight end Andrew Quarless dropped a third-down pass at the Michigan 7 in the fourth quarter (Penn State settled for Kellys 31-yarder). The final few plays of the third quarter were even more telling.
A pass interference call on Michigans Jamar Adams gave the Nittany Lions a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. Kinlaw ran for two yards on first down. Derrick Williams caught a 5-yard pass from Morelli on second down but couldnt break John Thompsons tackle. On third-and-goal from the 2, Kinlaw tried the left corner on a toss sweep but was wrestled out of bounds by Adams for no gain and Terrell Goldens holding penalty pushed Penn State back to the 12-yard line.
On the second third-and-goal, Morelli fired an incomplete pass to a Chris Bell. But, even had the diving Bell caught it, he still would have been five yards shy of the goal line. Things just didnt go right for us in the red zone, Kinlaw said flatly. Were gonna practice this week and work on it and get better for next week.
Considering it was on the field for 86 plays and nearly 35 minutes, both season-highs, Penn States defense did as much as should be expected against a team with Michigans caliber of offensive talent.
After escaping a pair of long drives at the end of the first half without allowing any points (Michigans Jason Gingell missed a 29-yard field goal try with 2:56 left and Mallett was intercepted by Lydell Sargeant in the final seconds), the defense forced two punts and recovered a fumble on Michigans first three possessions of the second half.
But the heat, and Hart, and a lack of help from the offense, eventually took their toll. We had our moments out there, too, Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. We had to get the ball back. That one drive, we just didnt tackle well there. It was the one drive we didnt tackle well, didnt do things the way we had planned to do.
That drive was a 15-play, 77-yarder that ate 6 1/2 minutes of clock and gave the Wolverines the final points they would need. Nine of those plays were gives to Hart, who picked up 33 yards including the last one, bulling forward with a second effort into the end zone with 8:52 left. Several of Penn States players and the coaches in the press box didnt think Hart had made it in, but the play was not reviewed.
Either way, it was closer to the end zone than Penn State got during an informative but frustrating afternoon.
Were a pretty good defensive football team, said Paterno, whose team visits 3-1 Illinois on Saturday. We just missed some opportunities.