MICH: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Saturday's Big Ten slugfest between the Nittany Lions and Wolverines at Beaver Stadium.

The Denard Robinson show hit Beaver Stadium Saturday night and proved to be every bit as good as advertised. Michigan's explosive quarterback rushed for 191 yards and three scores while passing for 190 yards and one TD.

Yet in at least one very important respect, the Wolverine star was outdueled by first-time Penn State starter Matt McGloin -- namely, McGloin led his team to a 41-31 victory.

And he was extremely efficient in doing so, hitting on 17 of 28 passes for 250 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. With an assist from tailback Evan Royster, who carried 29 times for 151 yards and two TDs while becoming PSU's all-time leading rushing, it was more than enough to overcome Robinson's amazing play.

Here's what went down in the Saturday night shootout at Beaver Stadium as Penn State improved to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten was Michigan fell to 5-3 and 1-3.

MAN OF THE HOUR: McGloin silenced a lot of critics by showing poise in the pocket, a deft touch in several clutch third-down situations and a great eye for the opener receiver -- eight different Nittany Lions caught passes.

CLOSE SECOND: Royster was not exactly explosive. His average of 5.2 yards per carry in this game was only slightly better than his season average (5.1). But he ran hard, pounded out a career-high in carries and helped keep the chains moving.

CLOSE THIRD: This was by far the best game the Penn State offensive line played this season. It allowed the Lions to build a 37:29-22:31 advantage in time of possession.

SPECIAL MENTION: Robinson is as good a player as we've seen in a long time. The only real knock on him is a tendency to get bumped up. Well, that and a lousy defense.

TURNING POINT: Trailing 21-10 last the second quarter, Michigan had a rare three-and-out (one of only two in the game). Devon Smith's 22-yard punt return set up the Lions at the Wolverine 37 and McGloin later hit Graham Zug for a 20-yard score and a 28-10 lead going into the locker room. State was able to keep Michigan at arm's length in the second half.

SOLID STRATEGY: Penn State ran the ball 26 times in the second half, and did a good job of keeping the clock and the chains moving.

NUMBERS GAME: There were a total of five punts in the game -- three by Michigan and two by Penn State.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Finally healthy, Mike Maui is emerging as Penn State's best linebacker. He had 10 tackles against the Wolverines, giving him 18 in the last two games.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Collin Wagner was good on field goals of 32 and 42 yards, the second of which provided a late 41-31 lead that iced the game. He also gained seven yards on a fake field goal in the closing minutes.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• The Penn State defense continuing to tackle poorly in spots. We get that Robinson is a special athlete who is going to get his yards. But he should not have been able to do significant damage after first contact.

• The suddenly dicey coverage units. The Lions allowed 147 yards in kickoff returns in this game, including a 47-yarder by Jeremy Gallon.

HIT SQUAD: PSU cornerback D'Anton Lynn hammered Robinson near the sideline in the second quarter, knocking him out of the game (temporarily) with a sore hip.

HIDDEN HERO: PSU punter Anthony Fera didn't get much work. But he averaged 49 yards on his two kicks.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Defensive back turned receiver turned defensive back turned receiver turned defensive back Chaz Powell made his first career start on defense, getting the nod in favor of cornerback Stephon Morris. He made one tackle and broke up a pass.

• Freshman linebacker Khairi Fortt has been moved to defensive end. He saw limited action Saturday night but did not log a tackle.

• Redshirt freshman Nate Cadogan, a converted offensive tackle, saw action at tight end in goal-line situations. He appeared to do a good job blocking.

• Redshirt freshman Malcolm Willis made his first career start at free safety. He had eight tackles.

• Starting strong safety Drew Astorino broke up three passes.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: With 399 career wins under his belt, will PSU coach Joe Paterno get No. 400 against Northwestern next week?


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