Penn State Rolled Over Michigan

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October 21, 2017. Saquon Barkley of Penn State celebrates with Trace McSorley after catching a 42 yard touchdown pass in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines on at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Penn State Rolled over Michigan: White Out in Beaver Stadium

No. 2 Penn State rolled over Michigan on Saturday in front of a record crowd of 110,823 in Beaver Stadium. College GameDay was on hand in Happy Valley to watch the Nittany Lions record 506 total yards of offense against the, former, No. 1 defense in the country. Lee Corso donned the Nittany Lion head for just the second time on Saturday before Penn State beat Michigan 42-13. Penn State got their revenge from the beating the Nittany Lions took in Ann Arbor a year ago. No. 2 Penn State now has 13 consecutive wins over Big Ten opponents. This is the longest streak in school history.

Offense Takeaways

The offensive line played great coming off of the bye week. Quarterback Trace McSorley praised the o-line stating that the unit, “…did a great job blocking in the run and pass game, opening up holes…really finishing their blocks.” That is high praise coming from the signal caller that recorded 282 passing yards, 76 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In addition, McSorley extended his streak of touchdown passes to 22 games as Penn State rolled over Michigan.

October 21, 2017. 21: Saquon Barkley of Penn State runs after making a catch in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Many Penn State football records were broken when the White Out descended on Beaver Stadium on Saturday, many of which coming from running back Saquon Barkley. Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart said it correctly stating, “It’s Saquon Barkley’s world. We’re just living in it.” Barkley scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game Saturday night. The first touchdown coming off of a 69-yard rush. He then added a third before the game was over. The Heisman hopeful is the first Penn State player to reach 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his career. Barkley also recorded his 14th consecutive game with a touchdown, the longest active streak in the FBS Finally, he broke the Penn State record for career scrimmage touchdowns with his 42nd, passing former Penn State great Lydell Mitchell (41).

Overall, it was a complete game for the Penn State offense. The No. 2 Nittany Lions found creative ways to get Barkley the ball. McSorley proved, again, that he is an elite quarterback and both tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton bested a solid Michigan defense.

Defense Takeaways

All week everyone talked about Michigan’s defense and how good it is. James Franklin accurately stated in his postgame press conference, “…we’ve got a pretty good defense around here too.” That was paramount to start the game when the defense kept the score sheet clean again in the first quarter on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions have not allowed a first quarter point all season.

October 21, 2017: Kevin Givens and Shareef Miller of Penn State sack Michigan’s John O’Korn at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The linebacker group was steamrolled against Michigan a year ago and middle linebacker Jason Cabinda did not forget. Cabinda recorded 13 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss as Penn State rolled over Michigan. Safety Marcus Allen had six tackles on the night. He also recorded his 290th tackle, moving him to seventh all-time at Penn State. The defense as a whole played solid, recording seven sacks, eight tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. The Nittany Lions held the Wolverines to 269 total yards of offense in contrast to Penn State’s 506 total offensive yards.

The defense needs to improve in some areas, one of which being open field tackling. When there is a gap in the defense is it noticeable. That is where the opponent gets their yardage. The defense needs to be more sound before entering Columbus on Saturday to take on Ohio State. James Franklin stated in the postgame press conference that the transition defense after a turnover needs improvement. Adjustments will be made before entering Columbus.

Looking Ahead

College GameDay will be following the No. 2 Nittany Lions to Columbus on Saturday. Penn State takes on Ohio State at 3:30 EDT on FOX. Penn State enters the game as an underdog for the first time this season. The Buckeyes are a seven-point favorite. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley will have to build off of the momentum from this win as they enter a hostile environment. Ohio State is 6-1, with their only loss coming from Oklahoma, but their schedule has not been overly tough entering this game. It should be a good test for both teams as they go through the back half of the season.

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