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TMI Takeaways: Run Game, D-Line Shine in Win

TMI Takeaways: U-M run game, D-line impress in No. 4 Michigan's 49-10 win against Penn State.

Rushing game looks in stride

Michigan needed to show it could run the ball today, and PSU’s injury depleted defense was an ideal opponent to get them back track.  De’Veon Smith led U-M with 107 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown. Smith’s highlight run, of course, was his never-give-up 39 yard run in the first half, as he bounced off a few defenders, carried some others before going down.

Karan Higdon led Michigan with two touchdowns, and also rushed for a career-high 81 yards. Ty Isaac finished with 74 yards and one score, Chris Evans added 43, as U-M finished with a season high 326 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Sack party today

Michigan set the tone early in Penn State’s opening drive, with Matt Godin and Chris Wormley each recording a sack, forcing PSU to punt from its own 1. U-M would dominate from there, finishing with five sacks in the first half alone.

Michigan’s defensive front simply dominated PSU’s lineman, with six sacks on the day. Wormley and Taco Charlton led U-M with 1.5 sacks, with Maurice Hurst, Chase Winovich and Godin each finishing with one.

U-M with first half shutout

In fact, at one point, Michigan had more points, 28, than PSU had yards, 24. U-M would outgain PSU 259-50 in the first half, holding the Nittany Lions to three first downs and 1-of-7 on third downs. PSU’s star running back Saquon Barkley was held to only 19 yards on eight carries, impressive, to say the least by the Wolverines.

Jabrill -- almost -- does it again 

Always one move away from the end zone, Jabrill Peppers dropped PSU’s the 61 yard punt initially, then juke, jived and weaved his way through Penn State tacklers for 53 yards before tripping at PSU’s 9. His punt return, of course, comes after his sensational 54 yard touchdown return versus Colorado last week.

Go for it

Jim Harbaugh isn’t afraid to roll the dice, and today proved that. Michigan finished 2-of-4 on fourth down conversions. U-M’s first attempt came when Khalid Hill scored on a 1-yard run putting up Michigan 7-0 with 11:31 left in the first quarter. The other conversion came with U-M needing seven yards, Wilton Speight maneuvered his way before diving for a impressive nine yard scramble, earning two fists in the air from Harbaugh as approval for his effort.

J.D. is back

Michigan’s All American cornerback Jourdan Lewis made his first appearance this season, and didn’t look like he skipped a beat. He would defend finish with a pass break up on his only ball thrown his way, plus had a crucial tackle-for-loss on third down, forcing a PSU punt. It appears that Lewis is back and is ready to go. 

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