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No. 7 Penn State Football Picks Up Huge 28-21 Victory Over No. 16 Michigan

No. 7 Penn State football (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) took down No. 16 Michigan (5-2, 3-2 Big Ten) under White Out conditions at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night.

KJ Hamler led the Nittany Lions with six grabs for 108 yards and two touchdowns and was the catalyst for Penn State’s offense. Brent Pry’s defensive unit was stretched very thin, but it made just enough stops to push Penn State’s record to 7-0.

How It Happened

Michigan received the opening kickoff and called a timeout before its first play from scrimmage. Shea Patterson found Nico Collins open for one first down, but the Wolverines’ drive stalled out just a few plays later and they were forced to punt.

Sean Clifford got in a groove on Penn State’s second drive. He found Jahan Dotson open for a 37-yard reception that put the Nittany Lions on Michigan’s own 17-yard line. The quarterback stayed hot on the next play, as he hit Pat Freiermuth in the back corner of the end zone for a score. Penn State took a 7-0 lead with 5:59 remaining in the first quarter.

After John Reid forced an incompletion on Michigan’s fourth down attempt, Penn State got the ball on its own 20 and Ricky Slade opened things up with a 44-yard rush. Clifford proceeded to pick up a huge first down on a draw play, forced two consecutive offside penalties, and took it in himself for a two-yard touchdown. Penn State led 14-0 with 14:56 remaining in the first half.

Brent Pry’s defense continued to dominate in the second quarter, as Tariq Castro-Fields intercepted a screen pass and Penn State took over in Michigan territory. Clifford sliced and diced the Michigan defense with ease once again, as he found his old friend KJ Hamler wide open in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Penn State led 21-0 with 7:44 left in the half.

Michigan finally found some success when Zach Charbonnet rushed for a touchdown and cut Penn State’s lead to 21-7 with 2:55 remaining before halftime.

Jake Moody’s 58-yard field goal attempt fell short of the uprights, and Penn State took over inside of a minute left but failed to get anything going. James Franklin’s squad took its 21-7 lead in to the locker room.

Michigan stuck first in the second half thanks in large part to Charbonnet. The running back had five carries on the drive, including a 14-yard rush and a 12-yard rush for a touchdown with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter. Penn State’s lead shrunk to 21-14, as it only had a total of 16 yards of offense in the third quarter.

Ricky Rahne’s offense woke up again in the fourth quarter, as the Nittany Lions went on a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 53-yard KJ Hamler touchdown reception. Penn State stretched its lead to 28-14 with 13:14 remaining in the game.

The Wolverines struck back with a methodic, 4:03 drive that got all the way down to Penn State’s one that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown rush from Shea Patterson on 4th down. The Nittany Lions led 28-21 with 8:48 remaining.

Michigan’s offense methodically marched down the field and drained the clock down to 2:01 left in the fourth, but Shea Patterson’s fourth-down pass to Ronnie Bell was broken up thanks to excellent defense from Lamont Wade. Penn State took over on downs at its own 3-yard line.

Noah Cain checked into the game at running back for Penn State’s final offensive drive of regulation. His carries of five and two yards set up KJ Hamler to pick up a game-sealing first down by carrying the ball four yards. Michigan challenged the spot, but the call stood on the field.


  • Lamont Wade had himself a game for Penn State. He made the crucial pass break-up on Patterson’s 4th-and-goal pass that gave Penn State possession with 2:01 to play in the final quarter. Beyond that, he made seven tackles and was extremely physical with the Wolverines all game.
  • Sean Clifford loves the White Out. Other than an ugly third quarter, The redshirt sophomore looked plenty comfortable in the most important start of his young career. He got off to a hot start with three total touchdowns in the first half, and finished with four total scores for 182 yards through the air.
  • Micah Parsons was everywhere for Penn State’s defense. Jim Harbaugh pounded the run game and threw screen passes throughout the night, but the sophomore was there to stifle just about what ever was thrown at him.
  • Shoutout to Music Man PJ Mullen, because Mo Bamba was back in full force tonight. I don’t care if you like the song or not — it seemed to make a huge difference for the Nittany Lions.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ABC.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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