Michigan 41, Penn State 17
James Franklin had two weeks to prepare for what he knew would be a tough one, but in the end, he lived up to his abysmal road record in big games and his crappy performance following bye weeks. The game was in no way as close as is suggested by the lopsided score dutifully, albeit heartbreakingly, reported above.
Told You So
I won’t bore you with the embarrassing stats, which have already been rubbed in painfully many times over. I’ll just say I told you so. Between K. John and me, we both told you so. He got the 41; I got the 17. Two teams claimed to be Top Ten teams going into this game. Michigan might be a top ten team, but Penn State sure as hell isn’t. Never were. Shows you what early season polls are worth: bupkis!
Why was it such a big surprise that Penn State running backs couldn’t get out of the backfield? Every half-assed fan expected to see Michigan stacking the box and quenching the run. What had been easy yards against the likes of Ohio U would evaporate in a miasma of frustration on the field in da Big House on Saturday. Adding insult to injury, or worse, adding insult to insult, the vaunted Penn State defense gave up well over 500 yards, succumbing to the relentless pounding by the Wolverine offensive line and two talented running backs. Donovan Edwards had sixteen carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns; Blake Corum had 28 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
The Nittany Lions got lucky in the first half, improbably scoring two touchdowns while being thoroughly dominated, getting their asses kicked up and down the field on both sides of the ball. The first trip to paydirt resulted from a superb 62-yard run by our leading rusher, Sean Clifford on a well-executed play fake. Yea, verily, the Master of Explosive Plays, James G. Franklin, was in his glory for a picosecond. The second touchdown was on a flukey pick-six, where the tipped ball bounced in the air in slow-motion long enough for Curtis Jacobs to grab it and run 47 yards to da house to take an improbable 14-13 lead in front of a stunned 110,000 maized-out UM fans. At that point, late in the second quarter, the Nittany Lions had more touchdowns than first downs.
The Wolverines added a field goal just before the halftime gun just so’s they’d have a 16-14 lead going into the locker room. It would be all Michigan after that.
Speaking of the tunnel to the locker room, what the hell is this bullshit about the lack of decorum while Penn State players were running off the field alongside their Michigan counterparts? Reports I read say the argument had started because of some social media trash-talking by Penn State players. Why the hell was this Miami Hurricanes style behavior tolerated by the coaching staff? WE ARE Penn State, remember? Trash talking ain’t our thing. We keep our mouths shut and prove ourselves on the field.
Unless we can’t. This bush league behavior is the stuff of pretenders. It’s put up or shut up, and Penn State didn’t put up so STFU!
The pre-halftime bullshit no doubt impelled Michigan to want to kick some serious ass in the second half. They did, and the bedraggled Nittany Lions did not have the wherewithal to respond with anything more than one feeble, early third period field goal. Then, nothing…
Whither Goeth the Season?
Am I being too harsh? Am I writing off the entire season after one ignominious defeat? Am I being premature? Remember St. Joe’s conciliatory words: “You’re never as good as you think you are when you win, and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you lose.” This one stings, but what stings worse is an in-yo-face attitude when it turns out to be all show and no blow.
In the wake of the sloppy Northwestern game, lifelong friend Toejam opined that PSU would lose the rest of its 2022 games. I consoled him with the aforementioned Paterno maxim. However, now, after two horrible games sandwiching a bye week, I’m more likely than not to agree with his frustrated assessment. This time, when he opined that the remainder of the season would be a repeat of last year, I meekly retorted, “We might be able to beat Rutgers.”
IITOP? Not So Much
And Matt Herb, this is for YOU: Time of Possession is not increasingly irrelevant when it signifies that your offense cannot give the defense a blow. The PSU defense was on the field for almost forty-two minutes. If they were hoping for explosive plays to save they ass, they got one — just one — Clifford’s 62-yard run. Take that out of the rushing total and you have a measly 49 yards on 21 attempts: 2.3 yards per carry. But I digress. The Nittany Lions’ defense was on the field way too much and they were pounded into submission by the Wolverines.
So, I’m disgusted. It is not bad enough that they got blown out, but they had to do that trash-talking thing when they had no chance of putting their money where their mouth was. Pretenders and their bravado! BullSHIT! Whoda thought it would come to that at Penn State.
The pretenders will drop significantly in this weeks polls, but probably not as much as they should. Contrary to what the perennially whining, platitude-spouting Sanguinarians think, PSU usually gets more respect from the media than it deserves, not less. Just how in the hell could the team that was on the field for the past two games ever garner a #10 ranking unless that were so!
I’ll be back midweek for a look at what Big Al called the auric rodents. I kinda like that. Cleverly turned phrases are what I have for amusement while Franklin pays lip service to going 1-0 this week.