It was improbable. Unthinkable, even, at one point. But it happened.
Penn State upset No. 18 Michigan 43-40 Saturday night when Bill Belton scampered around the left side for a two-yard touchdown run in quadruple overtime. It came only after numerous kicking follies allowed it to happen.
Or, depending on how you look at it, it came only after O'Brien took arguably the biggest gamble of his coaching tenure at Penn State, opting to go for it on fourth down and a yard on the Michigan 16 in the fourth overtime. Belton converted with a three yard rush, and four plays later, Belton scored.
In total, Michigan's Brendan Gibbons had his field goal blocked at the end of the third quarter, and missed another in overtime. His counterpart, Penn State's Sam Ficken, also missed one in overtime. The Lions also survived an Allen Robinson fumble in overtime. He fumbled on the opening play on State's third overtime possession.
PREGAME:S/H Ryan Keiser, who missed the Indiana game with an unspecified hand injury, is warming up, his left hand has a black cast on it. … WR Brandon Felder is warming up after missing the IU game with an unspecified injury.… There is expected to be an extremely large turnout of recruits for this game — perhaps as many as 100.
Christian Hackenberg threw an interception, then Devin Gardner tossed one. Penn State took advantage of its first interception, Michigan didn't, but the Wolverines lead 10-7 at the end of one.
Penn State's offense has been stuck in neutral for much of the first stanza, but after cornerback Jordan Lucas jumped a route and gave the Lions a short field, State cashed in on third down when Hackenberg found Brandon Felder crossing in the back of the endzone. It gave the Lions a 7-0 lead.
It wouldn't last long, as the next series, Gardner found a wide-open Devin Funchess, who beat State safety Ryan Keiser after Lucas blitzed but couldn't get to Gardner. Michigan would get a 47-yard field goal from Brendan Gibbons right before the end of the quarter, giving it its 10-7 lead.
Through a quarter, 4-of-7 for 38 yards with an interception and touchdown. Michigan has outgained the Lions by a 110-61 count.
The second quarter was nothing like the first here at Beaver Stadium, which ended with Penn State leading 21-10 over visiting Michigan.
State scored twice in the quarter, taking advantage of an Anthony Zettel interception one play later when Hackenberg found Jesse James for a 20-yard strike for its first score. The Lions later capped a 10 play, 61 yard excursion when Hackenberg threw his third touchdown pass, this one again to Felder in the corner of the endzone for a 24-yard score.
Michigan's offensive line has found little room to work in this contest, as Penn State has dialed up an aggressive plan that has held the visitors to just 144 total yards, including just 56 on he ground. Michigan gunslinger Devin Gardner is 6-of-12 for just 88 yards, and also has launched a pair of interceptions.
In the home locker room, Hackenberg is 9-of-15 for 111 yards and three scores, Zach Zwinak is the leading rusher with 25 yards on seven carries, and Felder leaves the receiving corps with three catches for 46 yards and two scores. Fellow wide-out Allen Robinson has just one catch, good for six yards.
State leads on the total yards totw 149-144, despite Michigan having the ball for 19:40 compared to the Lions' 10:20 time of posession.
Penn State will receive to start the second half.
The third quarter did not start ideally for Penn State, and it didn't end well, either. Michigan leads 27-24 with a quarter to play.
Michigan sapped some energy from a raucous Beaver Stadium crowd when James Ross III stripped Zwinak no more than 15 seconds into the second half, leading to a Frank Clark scoop and score from 24 yards out.
The sides would trade field goals in the middle portion of the stanza, but Michigan would jump ahead late, as the visitors marched 73 yards on nine plays, culminating with a 16-yard strike from Gardner to Gallon, who beat Lions' corner Trevor Williams, on perhaps what was his best throw of the evening.
Penn State has the ball to start the fourth quarter. Hackenberg is 15-of-25 for 163 yards, three scores, and a pair of picks. Gardner is 8-of-18 for 128 yards, and also has 98 rushing yards.