It took four overtimes for the Nittany Lions to rip out the Wolverine’s hearts and stomp all over it in Happy Valley. But, the events leading up to this loss were absolutely laughable.
Michigan deserved to lose Saturday’s contest.
If I were to tell you before the game that Brendan Gibbons would’ve had a field goal blocked and missed two game-winning kicks, I would’ve been laughed out of the building. Alas, this is what happened, this was the misfortune for the Michigan football team. However, it wasn’t entirely his fault.
The team had Penn State’s backs against the wall late in the fourth quarter but a Hackenberg prayer to Allen Robinson — arguably the best receiver in the conference — was answered that left the Nittany Lions on the one yard line with less than 30 seconds to play. On the next play, a one-yard Hackenberg scramble for a touchdown (the first rushing TD Michigan has allowed all season) tied it up . Robinson was practically shut down all game, but the one time Michigan needed a big stop (in regulation), it didn’t happen. They were a Channing Stribling fingertip away from possibly changing the outlook of this game.
With all things considered, Michigan shouldn’t have been in that position. They had all the chances in the world to run away with the game but it didn’t happen. This was an awful recarnation of a team we thought turned the corner. However, the Wolverines had other plans.
Devin Gardner was bad, the offensive line was terrible and Fitzgerald Toussaint couldn’t get anything done on the ground. It was the same old Akron/UCONN nightmare repeating itself. This time around, the nightmare never ended, Michigan paid the price for a poor start and not putting away inferior opponents early.
Toussaint’s 27 yard rushing performance was absolutely embarrassing for not only himself, but the offensive line and their coaching staff. The offensive line, with or without Lewan, was too busy moving backwards to compensate for the smothering pressure Penn State was placing on the rushing and passing game. To put it in perspective, Fitz attempted 27 rushes for 27 yards. His average is laughable even in the Pee Wee ranks.
The most frustrating facet of this game, above EVERYTHING else that happened, was the way the coaching staff called the overtime series. I understand that a field goal can win it if the opposing team fails to score during the first sequence. But, where is the aggressiveness? Where is that “going for the jugular” mentality during the overtime?
Playing for the field goal made sense the first time around. But, after having the first attempt blocked, wouldn’t you think that the play calling should’ve been a bit more aggressive going forward to just get out there with a win by any means necessary? On top of that, you rely on the run who literally has done nothing all game to get you the yardage you need? It’s not going to happen. If you can’t get the touchdown after ramping up the intensity, you would be at least a little bit closer to the endzone to make it a manageable chip shot.
The frustrations are just too much to list in one post. Such as the delay of game penalty in field goal range (inexcusable), the PI call in the endzone during the last OT, punting late in the fourth, and the list goes on. The chances to win this football game were plentiful, the team just simply didn’t step up to take it.
Penn State did enough to hang around and took advantage of Michigan’s weakest points. It did what it had to do to win the game, a strategy Michigan somewhat figured out earlier in the year but didn’t repeat it.
They are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.