“Well, obviously it was a hard fought game by both teams. I thought our guys came back in the second half, played better. We’ve got to execute at all positions better. It was hard fought by both teams. Kept sticking around, so it’s a tough one, every time you go onto overtime, but we have to move forward.”
“We had opportunities throughout the game. We had opportunities with missed tackles. We had opportunities to make a play on the ball. We had opportunities to hit a hole better. We had opportunities to finish blocks. There’s no doubt.”
The decision to punt with 45 seconds left in regulation. Did you consider kicking the field goal?
“Yeah, did, but if we could pooch it down there and them starting at the 20 instead of the 34 or 45 or something like that. I liked those odds better … Could we have executed the pooch better? Sure.”
Could you have kicked the field goal?
“Without the delay? Could have. I think Matt would have, probably, because it would have been a long one.”
Any concern with Brendan Gibbons’s consistency?
“Not really. He’s been great. That’s why we kicked it on the last [overtime].”
Taylor Lewan’s injury?
“Yeah, he should be all right.”
Was it a head thing?
“Not really sure.”
It looked like your guys were in position to make plays on that last drive.
“Yeah, well you have to make plays. You have to execute. Would we have liked to rush the passer better? Yes. But at times we did, at times we didn’t.”
Channing Stribling played a lot on the last drive. What was the reason there?
“Well we’d been playing some dime stuff, trying to put another DB on their tight end.”
Fitz had 27 carries for 27 yards. The offensive line shuffling didn’t seem good enough …
“It wasn’t good enough. There’s no question.”
Where do you go from here?
“Well, we’d better take a hard look at it.”
Chris Bryant got replaced late?
“Chris got banged up a little bit. I think Darrell [Funk] also wanted make a move.”
Some losses are harder to come back from than others. Do you have to work harder to keep everyone together?
“Well I think you always have to work hard. Anytime you lose in overtime, if you let it take a toll, it will.”
With the long field goal in overtime, did you consider Matt Wile at all?
“Thought about it, but Brendan, before the game, we talked. We talked to Matt before the game. Both felt good at certain distances, and that was the distance.”
You talked about the resiliency of this team coming out at the half. What do you take from this game?
“Well I think the biggest thing is we had all kinds of opportunities at every position. As coaches we had opportunities, and we all are in this together, and we all have to make sure we’re taking advantage and executing when those opportunities come.”
After Devin’s mistakes, did you change the game plan at all?
“You know what, we didn’t. Honestly. We started the second half with the same game plan that we used in the first half.”
Did you think there was more energy coming out in the second half?
“I thought we had good energy when we came out in the first half. I had no problem with how we prepared all week and everything we’ve done.”
Were the turnovers deflating a bit?
“Well they responded. Came back, responded. Defense got a couple. I think we complemented ourselves pretty good at times in there. Offense and defense and kicking game. There were some really good things. Especially the kickoff return part of it. When the opportunities are there, you have to take advantage of it.”
When did you decide Jake Ryan was going to play? And did you try to keep his plays limited?
“We tried to keep his play count down a little bit. I can’t tell you exactly how many he ended up having, but we really [made the decision] after Thursday’s practice and Friday. He felt good all week.”
The offensive line issues, is it a toughness thing? A confidence thing?
“We’re having a hard time sometimes targeting at times, combo-ing off the blocks. It’d be interesting to see. Magnuson came in from where I was watching in the game, he made a couple really good combination blocks. That was encouraging. But I’ll be honest with you, [you can’t tell] until you really get a good look at it all and you can analyze it.”
Quite understandably, the players were really down and only gave short, rehearsed answers. Their expressions say it all.
Jeremy Gallon drinks Gatorade by the quar- okay yeah now is not the time.
That was the stupidest f***ing football game I've seen in my life. The end.
Our continued gratitude to Shashi Mara of Marawatch, maker of exquisite timepieces for Michigan fans. There are some watches you own that you look at only when you need to know the time. And then there's the watch you occasionally look at to tell the time, and then look at to tell the time again, and then just in case you'd better check the time again...
Shashi's watches are exceptional at telling time. That's why you're staring at yours so much. Really.
Chaos Avoidance: Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don't let them take you alive. Except on a liveblog cause we're all mates here so read the Chaos Mitigation Post.
Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one… something like Punt-Counterpunt.
By Heiko Yang
Things have been getting a little heavy and off topic here. Let’s go back to feelingsball, shall we?
The last time Michigan played Penn State, most of us were sorting through some complicated feelings about whether we wanted to keep or fire Rich Rod. According to John U. Bacon’s Three and Out, the loss in Happy Valley sealed Dave Brandon’s decision, but I don’t think the outcome of the game cleared anything up for many of us. On the one hand, 423 yards and 31 points against Linebacker U! On the other hand … we made Matt McGloin look like Tom Brady. Granted, McGloin ended up being pretty good, but we didn’t know that yet. All we saw was this:
In the soul-searching (binge drinking) that followed, many of us wondered how the Michigan defense would ever dig itself out of this mess. Keeping Rich Rod’s staff wouldn’t guarantee defensive improvement, but firing him would mean several more years of coaching change awfulness that we thought we were finally putting behind us. Neither solution appeared to be a quick or satisfactory fix. Without any idea we were only a year away from being 11-2 and a BCS bowl win, it sucked to be a Michigan Wolverine.
Looking back, I wonder how Penn State fans felt after that game. Cathartic for beating Michigan three years in a row? Probably. Pity for Michigan, a once-proud program that had descended into turmoil and mediocrity? Maybe. Were they immensely thankful for the stability of their own program? I don’t know. When your coach has more all-time wins than many teams do, it’s not something to really think about. Without any idea they were only a season away from suffering the worst scandal in college football history, I bet it felt great to be a Penn State Nittany Lion.
Three years later, here we are again. Michigan vs. Penn State in Beaver Stadium. This time Penn State is spiraling downward while Michigan is (hopefully) on the uptick. The line favors the Wolverines by single digits, but anyone I’ve talked to thinks Michigan should and will win by multiple scores. I tend to agree. As much as we criticize Al Borges for lack of imagination in the run game, the unbalanced lines and heavy packages Michigan ran with impunity against Minnesota were just a preface to more elaborate and nefarious schemes to come. To stay competitive, the undersized, inexperienced backups that the Nittany Lions are running with these days on defense will have to do what we hoped Michigan’s defense would do back in 2010: Overachieve. Just this one time. For the love of God. On the other side of the ball, Michigan suddenly finds itself being more linebackery than Linebacker U, and I’m not even sure it needs Jake Ryan back for that to be the case.
This feels great, doesn’t it? To focus on the plays, not the people calling them. To worry about crowd noise, not media noise. To scrutinize where the quarterback is throwing the ball, not where the program is heading. It’s a familiar feeling now, but once upon a time we believed this to be a foreign luxury.
If Michigan does indeed win by a large margin, we can feel cathartic for ending a three-game losing streak, and we can feel pity for a once-proud Penn State team that is descending into mediocrity. Most importantly though, we should take a step back and appreciate the stability of our program, the foundation for winning that is so easy to get used to and thus so easy to take for granted. After what both teams have been through the last few years, I think we’ve all learned this lesson the hard way.
Michigan 41, Penn State 31
By Nick RoUMel
Hey, kids! See if you can identify the nine all-time Michigan at Penn State football games from a snippet of a news article. Name the year, the score, and the coach’s nickname. Answers at the end of this column!
(a) In what is simply known as "The Snow Bowl," a surprise 18-inch snowfall three days before the game made it necessary to use hundreds of paid volunteers to clear the field. But with snow piles all around them, 80,000 freezing fans watched holder Joe Nastasi score a two-yard touchdown off a fake field goal with 2:40 left to secure the Lions' second of three consecutive victories over the Wolverines.
(b) Michigan's defense can help give any opponent a confidence-boost - even one led by a former walk-on making his first career start.
(c) The scene was ripe: it was the 1,000th game in Penn State football history, played before the largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history, against the titan of a new conference, Michigan of the Big Ten, on a beautiful autumn afternoon. But there was no pleasure in Happy Valley. Penn State spoiled too many opportunities of its own and never could stop Tyrone Wheatley, the Michigan tailback, who rushed for 192 yards on 32 carries. The Michigan defense contributed a four-down goal-line stand in the second half that denied Penn State the 6 inches it needed.
(d) The loss marks the first time that Penn State has ever been shut out at home under Joe Paterno and the 0-4 start is the worst ever in the 115-year history of the program.
(e) Rondell Biggs flew in off the edge for one of Michigan’s seven sacks, then flexed his biceps to celebrate his mighty deed. The Wolverines’ defense provided plenty of muscle, Adrian Arrington and Mike Hart each scored a touchdown and Michigan stayed unbeaten with a win on Saturday night.
(f) Michigan still has Penn State's number, and that adds up to another late-season collapse for the Nittany Lions. Tom Brady's 11-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Knight with 1:46 left gave the No. 16 Wolverines a victory over No. 6 Penn State on Saturday, their third straight over the Lions.
(g) Michigan came in a 23 1/2-point underdog. Never before had the Wolverines been so lightly regarded by odds makers. Behind the running of Evan Royster and a few momentum-shifting plays by the defense and special teams, the Nittany Lions withstood the Wolverines' early flurry and snapped a nine-game losing streak to their Big Ten rivals.
(h) By the time fourth-ranked Michigan's 34-8 rout of No. 2 Penn State ended Saturday afternoon, Beaver Stadium was nearly deserted. Most of the school-record crowd of 97,498 had fled the world's largest Erector set for the warmth of their cars. But a wet, wild throng of Michigan fans in the northeast corner of the grandstand screamed and waved at their conquering heroes. "I'm just so proud," senior tailback Chris Howard said. "Defense, offense--we played the best game of our lives. We had to come out and make a statement. We made it."
(i) The undefeated Wolverines came in as 3 point favorites against a Penn State squad with a high-flying offense but a suspect defense; yet the Nittany Lions stymied the visitors on this overcast October afternoon. Devin Gardner threw a pair of interceptions and coughed up a fumble as Michigan was driving for the go-ahead score, while Penn State freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg found Allen Robinson for 2 touchdown passes, while running for another in the third quarter, that gave the home town team a lead it would never relinquish.
(a) 1995, W 27-17, Llo
(b) 2010, L 41-31, R. Ro
(c) 1993, W 21-13, Mo
(d) 2001, W 20-0, Llo
(e) 2006, W 17-10 Llo
(f) 1999, W 31-27 Llo
(g) 2008, L 46-17, R. Ro
(h) 1997, W 38-8, Llo
(i) 2013, L 21-19, B. Ho
[ED: That is a PENN STATE 21, MICHIGAN 19 from esteemed Counterpunt.]