[Live Blog] Penn State vs. Michigan
Good evening, Penn State fans! Tonight, the Nittany Lions will take on Michigan under the lights in Michigan Stadium. Penn State is looking to rebound after a disastrous 29-6 loss to Northwestern while Michigan is in desperation mode following three straight losses. Follow along with our live blog for updates, photos, and analysis from the game. In addition, we will be providing photos and updates from our Facebook as well as @OnwardState and @OnwardStSports throughout the game. Here is the media for today’s game, and here is our staff predictions for the game. Also, check out our drinking game for tonight’s matchup here.
0:00 Q4 — And that’s the game, folks. Penn State drops its second straight game with a 18-13 loss to Michigan. Thanks for following along tonight!
1:41 Q4 — Penn State snaps it out the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety. Michigan now leads 18-13.
1:43 Q4 — Yikes. An intentional grounding penalty and a sack puts Penn State at 4th-and-32 at the three yard line. This isn’t looking good, folks. To make matters worse, Penn State calls a timeout after 30 seconds run off the clock.
3:57 Q4 — Well, Penn State’s not out of it yet. Michigan is forced to punt and Penn State will get the ball at the eight yard line. 92 yards in four minutes won’t be easy, however.
7:04 Q4 — The Penn State offense reaches midfield, but unfortunately has to punt. Hackenberg can’t seem to find a rhythm this half, as he’s 9/16 with 49 yards and an interception. Michigan will get the ball at its own 14. Time is running out for the Nittany Lions…
11:24 Q4 — A big pass from Gardner to Dennis Norfleet gets Michigan into field goal territory, but the Wolverine offense sputters shortly after. Michigan settles for a 37-yard field goal to take the 16-13 lead.
13:39 Q4 — Penn State goes three-and-out AGAIN and is forced to punt. Michigan will get the ball at the 49 with Devin Gardner back at the helm.
0:18 Q3 — Without Devin Gardner, the Michigan offense looks lost. A draw play on third-and-14 is booed by the Michigan faithful and Penn State will get the ball at the 20 after a Michigan punt.
1:43 Q3 — Any momentum that Penn State had offensively going in to the second half is apparently gone now. Michigan forces another three-and-out after several botched screen passes from Hackenberg and takes over at the Penn State 46.
2:30 Q3 — With backup quarterback Russell Bellomy in for Michigan, Penn State forces a three-and-out and the Wolverines settle for a field goal. The game is now tied at 13.
4:02 Q3 — … and Hackenberg is intercepted. Hackenberg was forced to roll out to the right and made a horrible throw across his body. Michigan will start at the Penn State 28.
5:56 Q3 — Well, that was quick. Michigan goes three-and-out and Penn State will take over at the five-yard line after a good punt. Devin Gardner limped off the field after the third down play, so backup quarterback Russell Bellomy may see some action this game.
8:00 Q3 — Neither team can seem to get anything going in the second half. Penn State gets to the Michigan 37, but the drive stalls. The Nittany Lions attempt a fake punt but Michigan doesn’t bite, and the Wolverines take over at their own 39.
10:58 Q3 — Penn State’s defense bends but doesn’t break on the resulting Michigan drive, forcing a turnover on downs at the Nittany Lion 38 yard line.
13:16 Q3 — Penn State follows up with a three-and-out of its own, and Michigan will get the ball at its own 17 after a good punt from Chris Gulla.
13:49 Q3 — Michigan goes three-and-out on its first drive of the second half thanks to a monstrous sack from Mike Hull on 3rd down. Penn State will get the ball at its 42.
Halftime Thoughts — This is clearly a much different Penn State team than we saw two weeks ago against Northwestern. Bill Belton’s strong performance (8 carries, 55 yards) has taken some of the pressure off of Hackenberg, which allowed him to get into a groove early in the game. Currently, Hackenberg is 11/15 with 94 yards and a touchdown. DaeSean Hamilton caught the first touchdown of his career in the second quarter, but Geno Lewis and Jesse James have been surprisingly quiet tonight. Both combined for a total of three catches and 12 yards in the first half.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions have kept the Wolverines in check save for the poor play by Keiser on the Funchess touchdown pass. Perhaps the most impressive stat so far is Michigan’s four total rushing yards, which can be attributed to strong defensive line and linebacker play from the Nittany Lions. If Penn State wants to distance itself from Michigan, however, it will need to keep the ball away from Devin Funchess and Amara Darboh in the second half. The Michigan receiving duo combined for eight receptions (one being a touchdown) and 118 yards in the first half.
End of Half — Michigan goes three-and-out and the ensuing punt gives Penn State the ball at their own 30. The Nittany Lions fail to get anything on the following drive and that takes us to halftime. Penn State currently leads 13-10.
2:27 Q2 — Penn State can’t get anything going on the following drive, and is forced to punt. Despite the better play from the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line is still a work in progress. Hackenberg has been sacked four times already and been forced out of the pocket numerous other times. Michigan will take over on its own 36.
5:08 Q2 — Michigan elects to kick a field on 4th-and-2 at the Penn State 28, and Wolverine kicker Kenny Allen makes the kick to cut the Nittany Lion’s lead to three. Penn State leads 13-10.
7:30 Q2 — Michigan is once again marching down the field, with the biggest play coming on a Gardner pass to Amara Darboh for 20 yards. Gardner is having a solid game himself, going 9/11 with 128 yards and a touchdown. Michigan has the ball at Penn State’s 28.
11:58 Q2 — And just like that, Penn State gets its first touchdown since September 20 to give the Nittany Lions a 13-7 lead. Hackenberg finds DaeSean Hamilton in the back of the end zone, and Ficken drills the extra point. Hackenberg is now 9/10 on the day with 85 yards.
13:58 Q2 — Interception! Big man Anthony Zettel intercepts a Gardner pass and Penn State gets the ball at Michigan’s 28.
0:52 Q1 — The Penn State drive sputters once again and the Nittany Lions are forced to kick a 32 yard field goal. Ficken makes the kick and Penn State now trails 7-6. Bill Belton has been the Nittany Lions player so far, tallying 55 yards on seven carries. Belton also has two catches for 21 yards.
2:04 Q1 — Penn State is driving once again, as a big 3rd down catch from Belton kept the Nittany Lion drive alive. Penn State now has the ball at the Michigan 18.
6:37 Q1 — Touchdown, Michigan. Ryan Keiser seemed to be in position to pick off a lame duck from Devin Gardner, but Devin Funchess ripped it from his hands and walked into the end zone. Michigan takes the 7-3 lead.
9:53 Q1 — Christian Hackenberg is sacked on third down, and Sam Ficken is called on to try the 35-yard field goal. Ficken makes the kick, and Penn State takes the early 3-0 lead.
11:20 Q1 — Officials confirm the first down, and a Bill Belton screen pass immediately after puts Penn State at the Michigan 7.
11:46 Q1 — Penn State is driving down the field as two long Bill Belton runs put Penn State at the Michigan 20. A power run from Zach Zwinak appears to get the first down on 3rd-and-2, but officials will take another look at the play.
6:58 p.m. — Michigan runs on to the field and the crowd is electric. There’s definitely a great atmosphere at the Big House for tonight’s game with kickoff only minutes away.
6:45 p.m. — Both teams have cleared the field as the Penn State Blue Band comes on to perform a pre-game show. Yes, the drum major nailed the flip.
6:12 p.m. — Fans are piling into Michigan Stadium as kickoff is less than one hour away. The Nittany Lions are currently on the field preparing for tonight’s game.