It. Was. Ugly. Right from the get-go anyone with a pair of eyes knew that Michigan (5-2, 2-2 BigTen) was overmatched and didn’t belong on the same field as the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0, 4-0 BigTen). From drive one, the superior team reared their claws on a 69-yard touchdown run by Saquon Barkley–then they didn’t look back, winning in a rout at Beaver Stadium. 42-13 was the final score.
So what do we make of this game from the Michigan side? What can we possibly take away from such a terrible school-yard beatdown? Here are three things:
John O’Korn doesn’t have enough time–
Let’s face it, even if he did, John O’Korn would be well below a sufficient quarterback. But a lot of the blame should be placed on the offensive line in front of him. This offensive line has not been good all season. Sure, they’ve rushed for over 100 yards, but the sacks and penalties they have taken haven’t been good.
Tonight was no different. Seven sacks allowed and every time O’Korn hit his last step on his drops, someone was in his face flushing him from the pocket. And, you can see the impact that it is having on O’Korn. More than a few times tonight he was looking to run, even when he didn’t have to, thinking he was pressured and running for his life. Sure, he made some nice runs, but when your quarterback has happier feet than Michael Jackson, you won’t beat the second-best team in the nation.
On the night, the offense put up a measly 269 yards of total offense and 13 points. And, for even more proof of how soft this offensive line is, it took them four tries from the 1-yard line to punch in a touchdown. That doesn’t happen for good teams, and well, Michigan just isn’t there yet, mainly because of their offensive line. Which leads to takeaway number two:
The defense cannot do it all–
Coming into the game, Michigan’s defense was touted as one of the best in the nation. They were allowing minimal yards per game and literally keeping us in every game we played. They were aggressive, tough, and fun to watch.
Tonight, they were torched. 510 yards for Penn State, 42 points, and only 27 minutes of time possession. We could sit here and blame the offense for not keeping them off the field, but Michigan actually out possessed Penn State 32 minutes to 27…that excuse goes out the window.
Maybe they’re not as good as we thought they were? Maybe Penn State was actually just that good? I don’t know, but with games like Wisconsin and Ohio State on the horizon, I fear we may be in for much of the same.
Penn State was better than we thought —
Okay, Penn State is actually good. I’ll admit, I thought this would be a close game. But, I’ve been wrong before and this will not be the last time. Saquon Barkley is the real deal and should win the Heisman, while Trace McSorely is a quarterback I wouldn’t bet against. He outshined anyone on the field tonight.
Penn State was number two in the nation for a reason, and they proved as much tonight. They got their revenge from last year’s black eye in the Big House and did it emphatically. It’s probably time we start to look at them as a serious threat to the CFP and possibly (?) more.
Bottom Line —
It certainly goes without saying – Penn State was the much, much, much better team tonight, and to say that Michigan’s defense was underwhelming would be the understatement of the year. The Big Ten title is almost certainly out of reach now, a massive disappointment for the third year of the Jim Harbaugh era.