By Everett Cook, Daily Sports Editor
Published October 12, 2013
The big swing came on the first play of the second half, when sophomore linebacker James Ross stripped the ball and Clark scooped it up and lumbered 24 yards into the end zone for a game-changing touchdown.
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Just like that, Michigan (1-1 Big Ten, 5-1 overall) was back in the game.
Gardner carried the offense for most of the night, but was helped by sophomore tight end Devin Funchess, who scored twice out of a formation where he lined up as a wide out in a bunch formation behind fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. He finished the game with four receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Gardner’s first interception came on a badly disguised throw to the flat. He looked down Gallon, his favorite target, throughout the duration of the route, and Penn State cornerback Jordan Lewis stepped right in and returned the ball back to Michigan’s 15 yard-line.
Three plays later, Hackenberg had nothing but time in the pocket to deliver a rifle through double coverage on third and long for the first touchdown of the game.
Penn State continued to get great field position from Gardner, who tried to loop a pass into the secondary in the second quarter before Nittany Lion defensive end Anthony Zettel stretched up for the easy interception.
On the next play, Hackenberg found his tight end Jesse James for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
But the second half was a completely different story, which was even more impressive considering that Michigan was playing without their All-American fifth-year senior left tackle, Taylor Lewan, who left the contest before halftime due to what appeared to be a head injury and never returned.
After the game, Hoke was asked if a loss is a better lesson for his young team than another close victory full of mistakes and turnovers. All he could say was maybe.
Maybe that’s true. But Michigan had plenty of opportunities to make sure Hoke didn’t have to answer that question.
“We had all kinds of opportunities at every position,” Hoke said. “As coaches we had opportunities. And we all, we’re in this together, and we all have to make sure that we’re taking advantage and executing when those opportunities come.”