Wolverines Second Half Struggles Continue

The streak had to come to an end. After reeling off nine-straight wins against the Penn State Nittany Lion football program, the struggling Wolverines saw another impressive streak come to an end Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley. Despite leading the No. 3 Nittany Lions 17-14 at the half, Penn State scored final 39 points of the contest in a dominating 46-17 win.

STATE COLLEGE, Penn. -- Another week, another loss, another disappointing all around performance.

Looking to get on track against No. 3 Penn State, the Michigan Wolverines (2-5, 1-2) dropped another lopsided decision, this time a 46-17 game to the Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. As they did against Illinois, Michigan jumped out to an early lead with a pair of touchdowns, but, again, the defense and a lackluster second half performance by the offense dropped the ball as Penn State ended the football game with a dominating 39-0 run.

Brandon Minor rushed for 117-yards on 23 carries starting in place of freshman running back Sam McGuffie. Quarterback Steven Threet completed 9-of-13 passes for 84 yards, mostly in the first half. Nick Sheridan quarterbacked most of the second half following a flare up of the elbow injury that sidelined Threet through the second half of the 13-10 loss to the University of Toledo.

"Oh, we executed for a while and then we didn't," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "That's what happened. We executed, we moved the ball a little, and when we didn't, we didn't."

The Maize and Blue moved the ball well its first three possessions. At that point the offense shut down. For the first time of the season, the Rich Rodriguez offense scored on its first three possessions of the game, including a season-long 86-yard drive. On its first three possessions, the Wolverines totaled an impressive 209-yard of offense. They finished with just 291.

"We really stayed calm," said Penn State running back Evan Royster. "We knew Michigan was going to come in and try to play us hard, they do it every year. We just needed to adjust to it."

Following a late first half Michigan three-and-out, they did just that. Daryll Clark connected with receiver Jordan Norwood from just 3-yards out with just 23-seconds left in the half to trim Michigan's lead to three.

After Michigan punted on its first possession of the second half, Clark drove Penn State 61-yards on 14 plays, a blend of pass-run, to set up the game-tying 42-yard field goal. The home team took its first lead of the game just four plays later. Back up quarterback Nick Sheridan was tackled on a loss for three straight plays, the final one in the Michigan end zone, for a 19-17 Penn State lead.

Four plays after Zoltan Mesko's free kick gave Penn State the ball at midfield, the top-ranked home team applied the dagger. A 25-yard completion deep into Michigan territory, plus a 21-yard Royster run, set up a 1-yard score by Clark, his first of two touchdowns on the ground.

Penn State then added a second field goal, this one from 32-yards following a Steven Threet fumble, a second 1-yard touchdown run, and a late 80-yard score on a screen pass from Pat Devlin to Stephfon Green.

The Wolverines return to Michigan Stadium next weekend to battle the rival Michigan State Spartans.

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