113,000-plus left Michigan Stadium smiling Saturday night, as the Michigan Wolverines defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 18-13 under the lights. At least for one night it seemed like all the negativity had disappeared. For some it may even be the first time all season that they went to bed relieved and woke up feeling satisfied Sunday morning. Michigan football might not be “back,” but the program finally gave us more of a reason to believe, after snapping a three-game losing streak.
TBHR proudly hands out a couple of game balls to the most deserving in last nights victory.
Game Ball: Michigan Defense
Defense. Defense. Defense. That is what last night was all about for the Wolverines as they held the Nittany Lions to 214 yards of total offense and 13 points. The Wolverines were disruptive all night, especially late in the game when it mattered most.
Michigan recorded six sacks on Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the highest total in over six years. They only surrendered 54 yards on the ground, keeping another opponent under 100 rushing yards for the fifth time this season. Jake Ryan led the squad in total tackles and tackles for a loss with 10 and three, respectively. Brennen Beyer recorded a team-high in sacks with two. However, Frank Clark recorded the most important sack of the game on Penn State’s final drive, helping clinch the Wolverine victory.
The Michigan defense has been inconsistent of late but really played close to its potential last night against Penn State. Defense will be one of the main focuses during the bye week as the Wolverines prepare for a trip up to East Lansing to face the Spartans in two weeks.
Game Ball: Matt Wile, Place Kicker
Matt Wile is only five for nine on field goals this season, but his leg shined last night, as he was a perfect three for three. He nailed 45-, 42-, and 37-yard field goals, respectively, helping lead the Wolverines to victory.
Wile’s leg will be huge the rest of the season, and if he can kick consistently, the Wolverines will benefit from it. Michigan will need a solid second option in the red zone or even beyond during the rest of conference play.
Derek Devine is a contributing blogger for TBHR. Follow him on Twitter here!