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University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Evan Royster ran for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns to power the Penn State Nittany Lions past the Michigan Wolverines, 41-31, in Big Ten play at Beaver Stadium.
With his performance, Royster ended up breaking the school's career rushing record previously held by Hall of Famer Curt Warner, who racked up 3,398 yards. QB Matt McGloin also had a nice night for Penn State (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten), completing 17-of-28 pass attempts for 250 yards and a score. He added another touchdown on the ground in the absence of usual starter Rob Bolden, who did not play due to injury. The victory is Penn State's second in a row and the 399th of Joe Paterno's career.
QB Denard Robinson did it all for Michigan (5-3, 1-3), throwing for 190 yards and rushing for 191 more. He also totaled four touchdowns, with three coming on the ground. It wasn't enough, however, as the Wolverines suffered their third loss in a row.
The Lions opened the game's scoring with a four-yard touchdown run by Royster midway through the first quarter.
Michigan responded just over three minutes later behind a 32-yard touchdown run by Robinson.
Royster put Penn State back on top with a one-yard touchdown plunge late in the first period.
Seth Broekhuizen then booted a 37-yard field goal for Michigan midway through the second quarter.
The Lions, though, would score twice in the final 3:27 of the half to take a 28-10 advantage into the break. The first score was a one-yard run by McGloin, who then hooked up with Graham Zug on a 20-yard touchdown pass.
A 32-yard field goal by Collin Wagner extended Penn State 's lead to 31-10 just over five minutes into the third quarter.
Robinson then tossed a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Koger before Penn State's Michael Zordich scored on a five-yard run.
Michigan, however, was able to stay in the game thanks to Robinson, who scored on a one-yard run late in the third quarter and a four-yard scamper with just over nine minutes to play in the fourth.
Penn State, though, sealed the game when Wagner connected on a 42-yard field goal with just under six minutes to play.
The Lions went 10-of-16 on third downs, helping them to posses the ball for over 37 minutes on the night.
In my book, Rich Rodriguez has 30 minutes of football left to save his job. Why? Well, the first 30 minutes of football tonight have been downright embarrassing. Michigan is trailing Penn State at halftime by a score of 28-10 and is making former walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin look like an All-American in the process. Michigan just keeps making bonehead play after bonehead play on both sides of the ball, which is why they are now in an 18-point hole.
Michigan opened this game by going three and out when they couldn't gain a couple yards to move the chains. Penn State proceeded to get the ball and take 14 plays to go down the field, scoring a touchdown on a four-yard run by Evan Royster. Michigan answered with a TD on a 32-yard Denard Robinson run, but Royster gave the Nittany Lions another lead with a one-yard touchdown run on the next drive.
In the second quarter, Michigan cut the deficit down to four points when Seth Broekhuizen made a 37-yard field goal. This came after Denard Robinson left for a couple plays after landing awkwardly on his hip. Michigan had to punt after Robinson went out, but the Wolverine defense actually made a stop, keeping the score close.
Things went downhill for Michigan after this sequence, though. Matt McGloin led PSU down the field on an 11-play drive that was capped off with a QB sneak for a touchdown. Michigan's Jeremy Gallon dropped the ensuing kickoff and it went out of bounds inside the five. PSU got a stop and McGloin connected with Graham Zug only four plays later for a 20-yard touchdown, giving the Nittany Lions a 28-10 lead.
It takes some seriously awful coaching to be trailing this much to a team with a former walk-on starting at quarterback, especially coming off of a bye week. Michigan had two weeks to prepare for this game and it looks like they spent two minutes. I'm already on the verge of fully jumping on the fire Rich Rodriguez bandwagon based on the first half, and I'm certainly not alone. If Rodriguez wants to change the minds of Michigan fans, he better get his team focused and hope they play much better in the second half.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beaver Stadium (107,282) -- University Park, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Michigan 3-2, PSU 3-1. Away Record: Michigan 2-0, PSU 1-2. Neutral Record: Michigan 0-0, PSU 0-0. Conference Record: Michigan 1-2, PSU 1-2. Series Record: Michigan leads, 10-5.
GAME NOTES: The Michigan Wolverines will try to avoid another late-season collapse, as they take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in Big Ten play this weekend at Beaver Stadium.
The Wolverines are in a similar situation to the 2009 season, when a 35-10 loss to Penn State began a downward spiral. Michigan was an identical 5-2 heading into last year's Penn State matchup, which jump-started a season- ending five-game slide. The Wolverines are hoping to avoid the same fate and end a current two-game losing streak that includes a 38-28 loss to nationally- ranked Iowa on October 16th.
PSU meanwhile, put a halt to a two-game game slide of its own with a 33-21 triumph of Minnesota last weekend. It was the first Big Ten victory of the campaign for the Lions, who had dropped back-to-back decisions to Iowa and Illinois.
This is the 16th all-time meeting between Michigan and PSU on the gridiron, with the Wolverines holding a 10-5 edge in the series.
Thanks to the dynamic play of QB Denard Robinson, Michigan has one of the most potent attacks around, averaging 250.4 ypg through air and an even better 281.6 ypg on the ground. A dual-threat, Robinson has been equally as effective with his legs as his arm, throwing for 1,319 yards and nine TDs, while rushing for 1,098 yards and nine more scores. He has completed 67.8 percent of his tosses, in addition to eclipsing 100 yards rushing six times. Unfortunately, Robinson is listed as questionable for this weekend with an undisclosed injury suffered last game versus Iowa. Prior to being injured, Robinson had rushed for 105 yards and thrown for 96 and a score versus a tough Iowa defense. Tate Forcier stepped in after Robinson left and he threw for 239 yards with a TD versus two INTs. He would get the nod if Robinson was unable to go this weekend. Three players have already cracked 300 yards receiving, so the Michigan QBs have several options in the passing game.
On the defensive side of the ball is where Michigan has had issues this season, allowing 441.0 total ypg. The pass defense has been especially bad for the Wolverines, who are giving up 296.3 ypg through the air. The team has also surrendered 14 TDs on the ground, so that part of the defense hasn't fared much better. Last game, Michigan was put in several bad spots with turnovers by the offense, but the defense still did little to resist Iowa. The unit surrendered 383 total yards, including 248 passing and three TDs on 17-of-24 tosses. Jonas Mouton has done his part for the defense and he leads the club with 63 stops and a pair of INTs.
QB Matt McGloin stepped in after starter Rob Bolden was knocked out of the game and he threw for 76 yards and two TDs to lead PSU over Minnesota. McGloin, listed as the third-stringer, was inserted ahead of Kevin Newsome, who received a few snaps in the second half. Bolden threw for 130 yards and a TD before leaving after a hit midway through the second quarter. The freshman has struggled at times this season, but figures to still be the starter if healthy this weekend. WR Derek Moye, though, may prefer a change of QBs, as he hauled in a pair of TDs from McGloin last weekend. He leads the team with 25 receptions and 458 yards, but had caught only one TD pass from Bolden. The ground game even started to get moving last weekend, as Silas Redd rushed for 71 yards on nine carries, while Evan Royster went for 62 yards and a TD on 10 totes. Royster is the main threat in the backfield, leading the team with 450 yards on the campaign.
PSU's defense gave up some yards (433 total) last weekend to Minnesota, but the unit stepped when called upon. The Lions kept Minnesota just a 7-of-21 effort between third and fourth downs, while limiting it to only a 26-of-49 showing on pass attempts. PSU did give up 299 yards through the air, but the pass defense has been strong for the most part this season, allowing only 187.9 ypg through the air. D'Anton Lynn led the defense with 10 stops and an INT last weekend, and he now has 41 stops and two picks to his credit.
The Wolverines had an extra week to prepare for this bout and should have come up with a good enough gameplan to come out on top. Michigan also has more weapons that should play a factor in the decision as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 34, Penn State 24
When Michigan takes on Penn State on Saturday night, it appears it will be going up against quarterback Matt McGloin. Joe Paterno said on his radio show on Thursday night that McGloin will make his first career start on Saturday against Michigan, adding that he hopes to only use one quarterback during the game.
The interesting thing about this news is that just minutes before it was announced, Jay Paterno said two things: 1) Rob Bolden was cleared to play on Saturday; and 2) who will start for Penn State will be a game-time decision. This could simply be some mind games coming from PSU to throw Michigan off with regards to who they have to prepare for, but to me it seems like nobody is on the same page for the Nittany Lions. You have the younger Paterno saying a starter won't be named until game time, and then the older Paterno is saying just minutes later that McGloin will start. It's just an all-around odd situation.
For Michigan, it would probably be better if McGloin is the starter. Bolden looked good before his injury last week, and coming from a fan base that had to witness Nick Sheridan start in 2008, it would be nice to be on the other side of a game involving a former walk-on starting at QB.
In the Nittany Lions’ effort to simulate Robinson, the team had scout team cornerback Evan Lewis in the role of Robinson, with a little visual twist:
“They let him wear a wig with some dreads on it,” Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti said with a chuckle Wednesday during a teleconference.
Lewis, dreadlocks and all, was given the task of duplicating Robinson’s lightning-quick speed that shot him to the top of nation in rushing. Lewis is not a natural thrower, so backup quarterback Paul Jones handled that part of the game. But nobody can truly duplicate the kind of speed Robinson possesses. Just ask PSU defensive end Pete Massaro:
“You name it — he’s fast, quick,” Massaro said. “He has a great burst when he runs through the line of scrimmage. He’s deceptive, as well. He’s a great player.”
According to Mauti, Lewis has been making guys “miss all week.” That bodes well for Michigan, considering they’ll be throwing the real thing at the Nittany Lions on Saturday.
Michigan's injury report for Saturday's game against Penn State doesn't really include any groundbreaking information. The group of players with season-ending injuries -- Mike Jones, Martavious Odoms, Jared Van Slyke, Mike Williams and Troy Woolfolk -- makes up most of the injury report. Actually, the only player with an injury that isn't of the season-ending variety is Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is once again out because of a shoulder issue.
Toussaint has been banged up all season long and continues to struggle to get healthy. He isn't the only running back experiencing injury issues, though. Michael Shaw just now seems to be getting healthy after being banged up the last few weeks and Mike Cox has been dealing with a knee sprain recently. Vincent Smith tore his ACL at the end of last season, but he says he is 100% healthy now.
In addition to releasing the injury report, head coach Rich Rodriguez talked about some position changes during his radio show on Thursday night. Via Angelique Chengelis, the following changes have been made: Quinton Washington has moved from the offensive line to the defensive line, William Campbell has moved from the defensive line to the offensive line, Cameron Gordon is playing at both safety spots, Ray Vinopal is playing at the deep safety spot and Marvin Robinson has moved from safety to linebacker.
Considering how much the defense has struggled so far this season, you might as well try everything to see what works, right?
Penn State starting quarterback Rob Bolden, who is actually from the state of Michigan, suffered an injury against Minnesota last Saturday that is believed to be a concussion. The injury knocked him out of the Minnesota game and put his status for the game against Michigan in doubt, leaving Wolverines fans wondering which quarterback their team will face on Saturday night.
It is now Thursday, and I can honestly say that I have absolutely no idea who will start at quarterback on Saturday for Penn State. It seems Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is just as confused, as Bolden's status has ranged from doubtful to probable over the course of this week without much rhyme or reason.
The most recent news we have about Bolden is that he passed a concussion-related test on Wednesday, indicating that, at the very least, he is progressing from his injury. Bolden's father confirmed this to The Patriot-News, but even he admitted that he's not sure what exactly it means or where things go from here.
Earlier in the week, Paterno said this about Bolden:
"If you ask me, if I had to make a guess, I’d guess he’s not going to make it," Paterno said. "But that does not mean I know what I’m talking about it. I don’t have an M.D. after my name."
If you went strictly off that, Bolden's status for Saturday would have to be considered as doubtful. In an injury report released by Penn State on Monday night, however, Bolden was listed as probable. And on Wednesday, he passed the aforementioned concussion test that seems to indicate his chances of playing are improving. It doesn't seem anybody knows at this point, though. Either Paterno is trying to be sneaky and force Michigan to prepare for more than one guy, or he just doesn't know if Bolden will actually play or not. I tend to think the latter is much more likely than the former, but that's just me.
If Bolden is unable to give it a go on Saturday night, he will likely be replaced by Matt McGloin, a former walk-on who has been described as being similar to Nick Sheridan. In other words, it would be very good news for Michigan if McGloin is in the starting lineup.
Penn State's other quarterback in the mix is Kevin Newsome, a former Michigan commit. Newsome is dealing with a "minor left knee injury" and didn't play a whole lot against Minnesota after Bolden went down. It seems Paterno favors McGloin over Newsome, so I'd expect to see the former walk-on if Bolden doesn't play.
Saturday night in Happy Valley, Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge will be on the call for the primetime game between Michigan and Penn State.
This crew last announced a game involving a team from Michigan in September when Michigan State took on Notre Dame. That primetime game turned out to be an instant classic thanks to MSU winning in overtime on a fake field goal. Nessler had a great call of the play and in general is a great announcer. Blackledge is a solid color commentator as well, even if he did go to Penn State. I don't expect him to be a homer or anything, but even if he proves me wrong it beats listening to Matt Millen, who also went to PSU.
Before the season, this game looked like it could easily end up being ABC's main primetime game with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit announcing it. After all, we knew Ohio State-Minnesota wasn't going to be very interesting, and at the time who could have guessed that USC-Oregon would be so important for the national title hunt since the Trojans are barred from postseason competition. Michigan-Penn State seemed like the most intriguing matchup coming into the year, but now it's just a "meh" Big Ten game between a U-M team on a two-game losing streak and one of the worst PSU teams in quite some time. I guess this is the downside of having to schedule the Big Ten's primetime games during the summer and not in the season.
Michigan's bye week really couldn't have come at a better time. A number of important players were banged up before the bye, including Denard Robinson, Mike Martin and David Molk. With the team getting a week off from game action, the injured players got a chance to rest and that has allowed them to be healthy going into this week's Penn State game.
Rich Rodriguez said that Robinson was limited in practice last week, not throwing the ball a whole lot because of a shoulder injury. This week, however, he appears to be ready to practice without limitation.
He said the off week gave his shoulder and knee time to recover from injuries sustained in the season’s first seven games. Asked if he was 100 percent healthy now, Robinson said, "Oh yeah."
Martin and Molk have been cleared to practice this week. The same goes for Michael Shaw, and Fitzgerald Toussaint seems to be making progress as well. All of this is good news for Michigan, which needs to be at full strength when it plays at Penn State on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
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