Phillip Lutz, Guest Writer
Michigan RB Donovan Edwards runs with the football. Photo//Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
The Wolverines running back duo ran all over the Nittany Lions for a dominant 42-17 win. This was supposed to be a slug fest for the ages. It turned out to be a Wolverine rubbing the belly of a comatose lion.
The No. 5 Wolverines from the University of Michigan took on the No. 10 Nittany Lions of Penn State University Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was a top 10 matchup on national television. The Big Noon Kickoff show was once again in attendance. This game was to be a game some Wolverine fans looked at as a possible first loss in the 2022 season. Personally, I thought it was a trap game.
Boy was I wrong!
The festivities started off during the national anthem when the service members in attendance started to raise the flag upside down. It was a true sight to see when several service men and women pointed out the error. As the anthem was finishing and the flag was up correctly, two F-16’s rocketed above the stadium from the south side endzone to the north side in mere seconds. This set the tone for the day as the fans below shouted with enthusiasm.
The Wolverine faithful were louder for this game than any so far this season. This was due in part to one man, DJ Skee. Michigan has had a DJ in attendance trying to get the crowd into the game. No one has been able to do this better than DJ Skee. He is a great entertainer and rev’s the place to the max. Saturday, he had a track called “Pushin Penn.” It was what the 110,000 plus fans needed to be a force for this game.
The Wolverines started with the ball on offense, moving the ball down the field with power but had to settle for a field goal. This would be the story for the first couple drives. The Wolverines should have had 14 points early if it was not for crushing penalties and a costly overthrow. They could only manage an early six point lead.
During the media timeout after the first quarter, we saw the wonderful Victor the Frisbee-catching dog. He caught only one of the four throws during this appearance. He was back a couple times later in the game where he did better and caught all the passes.
Back to the field as the fans saw the next Wolverine drive. They started at their own 30-yard line and went methodically down the field mostly behind the speedy legs of junior running back Blake Corum. The drive was finished by Corum running it down the middle of the line for a one-yard touchdown. Grad student kicker Jake Moody added the extra point, making it 13-0.
The Nittany Lions were not to go away quietly though. On their next possession, they showed the Wolverines they had tricks up their sleeves. Quarterback Sean Clifford fooled everyone including the fans with his 62-yard scramble, giving the Nittany Lions their only first down in the first half.
Myself and everyone around me thought that the running back had the ball and was stopped short of the line of gain. It was Clifford, who is not known as a running quarterback, who had punched the Wolverines in the gut. He had them in first-and-goal and the Wolverines were able to stop the Nittany Lions on the first three downs. However, a 1-yard run by Kaytron Allen on fourth down found the end zone and put Penn State on the board to make the score 13-7.
The Wolverines got the ball back ready to respond. Sophomore running back Donovan Edwards took the ball for 25 yards, giving the beleaguered Wolverines a much needed shot in the arm.
Sadly, sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw a pass that was knocked down and batted into the air. It was caught by Curtis Jacobs of Penn State and returned for a touchdown. McCarthy tried to run him down but was just short.
Penn State had life and the lead. The score was now 14-13.
The Wolverines had one last chance before halftime. They got the ball and were able to use Corum’s legs to drive down the field for another Moody field goal. During the drive, there was a missed pass interference call that had several fans irate and possibly cost the Wolverines a touchdown. Despite the field goal, the Wolverines only had a two point lead at halftime. 16-14.
The Wolverines stats through the first half showed their dominance with 18 first downs and double the time of possession of the surging Nittany Lions. Corum was described as a “human yo-yo” by someone in the stands. He was able to fight off tackles and get more yards. He really was bouncing all over the place.
After halftime, the Wolverine faithful stood behind the defense and were so loud it was hard to hear anything. The Nittany Lions scored a field goal taking the lead back, 17-14. This would be the last time they would score for the rest of the contest.
Edwards would decide the next Wolverine drive in one scramble that took the ball 67 yards for his first touchdown of the day. Moody hit another extra point giving the Wolverines much needed life. 24-17.
The Wolverine defense turned up the pressure and were rewarded with the Nittany Lions turning the ball over on downs.
Corum decided to not let Edwards have all the fun, taking the first run 61 yards for his second touchdown of the day. The Wolverines were rolling now and had a commanding 31-17 lead.
Penn State had no answer to anything the Wolverines were doing. They were forced to punt the ball back to the mighty Wolverines.
During the media timeout for the end of the third quarter, Victor the Frisbee dog was seen again running all over the field. Maybe he should have shown the Nittany Lions how to do it. DJ Skee pumped the crowd up one more time to kick off the fourth quarter. He even got the officer watching over him to address the crowd. The Big House was rocking.
Moody hit another field goal finishing off the drive. 34-17.
Penn State changed quarterbacks on the next drive. They still could not get anything going, eventually giving the ball back to the Wolverines on downs.
McCarthy added 21 yards with his legs on the next drive, assisted by Edwards who had a 28-yard scramble giving the Wolverines a first down. Edwards finished the drive with a three-yard scramble for a touchdown. This sealed the game for the Wolverines. 41-17.
McCarthy finished the day with 145 yards through the air and an interception. He also had 57 yards on the ground. This is big since the Wolverine faithful believed he needed to run it more to keep the defense honest.
Lightning and Lightning, as coach Jim Harbaugh calls Corum and Edwards, each had a great day. Corum finished with 166 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 15 yards receiving on three catches. Edwards on the other hand had a career day. He finished with 173 yards and two touchdowns. He also had one reception for 21 yards.
Moody had a great day as well. He knocked through four field goals and got his first tackle on a kickoff. He said he came in as a 175 pound kid and now has put on 40 pounds. He is now not afraid of running down the field and tackling one of the bigger guys.
The newly ranked #4 Wolverines (7-0) have a bye week next week before their showdown with Michigan State (3-4). As a Michigan fan, we all know that just because the Spartans of Michigan State are not doing so great this year, does not mean they will not come in and use this game as their Super Bowl. The Spartans have won 10 of the last 14 games the two teams have played.
Enjoy the bye week everyone and gear up for the slobber knocker we all know this one can be. See you in the stands in two weeks.