Penn State Defense Controls Game From Beginning

This game was the battle of the lines. Specifically, the offensive lines. I could not have been more wrong in my prediction (about Michigan) in this game. I thought Michigan would come out and play inspired football. And in a way we did, driving 70 yards on the first drive to take the 7-0 lead. But that's when the game took a terrible turn - our defense took the field.

We had no answer for Darryl Clark and the Nittany Lion offense. He picked us apart all day throwing for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns. You could blame Michigan's defensive backfield, but they were just over matched. Penn State's o-line was the story of the game, giving Clark all day to throw and find the open man. Royster was able to capitalize on the great play of his offensive line, running 20 times for 100 yards.

Offensively for Michigan, it was also the line that was the story of the day. Losing David Molk to injury again early in the game was a huge blow that Michigan was not able to recover from. Penn State's defense, at least in this game, was every bit as good as they were billed to be. Minor, Brown, Forcier, Robinson...all were completely smothered in this game.

We were nowhere close to the 37 point per game average that Michigan fans were hoping to see today. We showed just how young our QBs are. Forcier was consistently forced into making bad throws. Denard Robinson, who showed that he has no business on the football field right now, turned the ball over twice...once through the air on a very bad read, and once on the ground as he was hit going down.

If there is any bright spot going away from this game, is that Michigan will not have to face a defensive front 7 as talented as this the rest of the season. I gotta hand it to Penn State and their defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. They are a great unit. And if Clark and his o-line can keep playing like they did today, (and get a little help from Iowa along the way) they could take the Big Ten title this year, because no one left on their schedule can put points up against their defense.

For Michigan, we must regroup and head to Champaign to take on a struggling Illinois team. We will have to see who's banged up on Monday. But from my living room, I could see a few guys who were hurt in this game. Tate's shoulder is still a question mark. Minor's ankle is definitely slowing him down. Molk might be out. Odoms and Hemingway got a little banged up today as well. On defense, Donovan Warren was limping quite a bit, but I think he should be ok...hopefully.

We'll see. Much more to come about this game.


  1. Hey Brad, First off, love the blog. It's the first place I go to for info about the team. Thanks so much for doing it. Second off, I'm interested in reading what you think about the offensive game plan. I'm not sure that I agree with you that Minor, Brown, etc. were bottled up the whole game (after the first drive). Sure, PSU stuffed the run decently, but I think there were a lot of yards on the ground to be had if we had stuck with it. My main concern is that it seems like (and we saw this in the Iowa game too) the offense is too quick to go away from the run. We seem to get panicky too early when we fall behind. This leads to lots of drop back passing from Tate and even Denard, which is where they've both gotten into trouble in recent games with turnovers or third and longs that we don't end up converting. Do you agree?

  2. Hey Aaron, thanks for taking the time to read the site, glad you enjoy. Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

    I agree with you that the physical ground game seems to quickly evaporate once we get down by more than 7 points. I'd love nothing more than to see Minor and Brown get more carries and for us to pound the ball between the tackles.

    I think Rodriguez/McGee like to get the ball into the hands of big play makers as much as possible. If they call a few runs and they don't get much, the tendency is to put the ball in the air. I don't necessarily disagree with that policy...but lately, when the OL doesn't run block very well, they don't pass block much better.

    The Penn State game was tough...maybe the best front 7 in the country. Hopefully the ground game gets back on track this week against a much weaker Illini defense.