Michigan Does Just Enough to Win
The #6 Michigan Wolverines (9-1, 6-1 B10) prevailed over a game bunch of Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-4) in chilly, windy Beaver Stadium. Final score was 21-17.
As expected, Penn State mustered only 109 yards rushing, but the passing game was well controlled by the Michigan defense, who sacked Sean Clifford seven times to hold him to 205 yards passing, going 23-43. Jordan Stout, pressed into service now as a quintuple threat, was 1-1 passing for 18 yards.
Stout’s fake punt so titillated James Franklin that he had to try a fake field goal, this time using Stout as a receiver. This resulted in a loss of 18 yards on the ground, thus leveling Stout’s non-traditional offensive output at a big fat zero. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he coughed up the ball for a turnover.
Stout’s final stats: Field Goals 3-4; Passing 1-1 for 18 yards; Receiving 1-1 for -18 yards; Punting 4 for 204 yards.
I shouldn’t have to write much other than the heading above, as we all know Franklin sucks at calling crucial plays. But let me say it: he sucks at calling crucial plays. In the fourth quarter after Keyvone Lee had started enjoying some success, having run for 88 yards on 20 carries, Franklin suddenly abandoned the run and reverted to the passing game, getting top receiver Jahan Dotson injured in the process and making him unavailable to play in the ill-advised 4th-and-two play that followed. Penn State had been bottling up the Michigan offense at that point, but hindsight is always 20-20, as “they” say.
Stout was three for four kicking field goals on a windy, crappy day. The overly aggressive fake probably took the place of a makeable field goal. Of course, fanboys being what we are, if the fake had succeeded, we’d be singing praise. Franklin said they had been practicing the fakes a lot. Of course, they weren’t practicing them against the Michigan defense. But WHY were they spending all that time practicing trick plays when the fundamentals are so lacking?
(I’ll reluctantly return for my take on the rumble with the Piscataway Pretenders.)