After a slow start last week against Colorado, Michigan was looking to bounce back in a big way as Big Ten season kicked off on Saturday.
That's exactly (4-0,1-0 Big Ten East) what the Wolverines did on Saturday, starting out as fast and finishing strong with a 49-10 victory over Penn State.
After Penn State's opening drive stalled, one of many stalled drives throughout the game, lightning almost struck twice when Jabrill Peppers very nearly returned a punt for a score. Despite going down near the five yard line, a U-M penalty took the Wolverines back. A seven play drive was capped with a one yard run by fullback Khalid Hill to open up the scoring for the Wolverines.
It didn't look back from there.
Dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football, the Wolverines made its mark in the first half. The Wolverines took advantage of a porous offensive line and were able to establish the running game in the first half. Scoring three times in the first half on the ground, a touchdown a piece to De'Veon Smith and Karan Higdon, the Wolverines were able to set the tone and keep them in complete control. U-M quarterback Wilton Speight also contributed a touchdown pass to tight end Devin Asiasi, the first of his career, to stretch the lead to 28-0.
The Wolverines finished the first half with 107 yards rushing compared to -7 yards rushing for the Nittany Lions.
With the offense stepping up, so did the Wolverines defense. Looking much more sharp and prepared than a week ago, U-M essentially nullified Penn State's spread offense. Allowing three first downs and 57 total yards.
Penn State attempted to chip away at the lead in the second half with a 71 yard, eight play drive. However, the U-M defense stood tall in the red zone and forced the Nittany Lions to kick a field goal, making the score 28-3.
U-M answered with a score of its own late in the third quarter with a three yard touchdown from freshman Chris Evans to push the lead to 35-3.
The Wolverines made it a point to spread the ball around on the ground on Saturday, with the Wolverines rushing for 329 yards, 107 of those from Smith, and five touchdowns on the ground.
In the fourth quarter, Penn State went on a six minute drive capped off with its first touchdown of the day, an eight yard pass from quarterback Trace McSorely to wide receiver Chris Godwin to make the score 35-10. Just like the theme for most of the game, the Wolverines answered again on the ground with a 40 yard run by Higdon to make the score 42-10.
The score was Higdon's first multiple score game in his U-M career.
U-M finished the game with 517 total yards, Penn State finished with 199 yards. As well as limiting the Nittany Lion offense, the U-M defense also contributed six sacks on McSorely.
The Wolverines welcome undefeated Wisconsin into Michigan Stadium next week.null