The good, the bad and the ugly: No. 2 Penn State

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 5:25pm

Fifth-year senior linebacker Mike McCray and his No. 1 overall unit couldn’t stop the Nittany Lions’ offense.

Fifth-year senior linebacker Mike McCray and his No. 1 overall unit couldn’t stop the Nittany Lions’ offense. Buy this photo
Amelia Cacchione/Daily

 

For all of the theatrics that came with Saturday night’s contest in Beaver Stadium, No. 2 Penn State’s performance still may have warranted more.

Michigan was punched in the mouth from the get-go, Saquon Barkley looked every bit a Heisman winner and the Nittany Lions provided a very convincing argument that their standing among the nation’s best is warranted.

The Wolverines, on the other hand, had little to nothing to show for a trip to State College and are now faced with the discouraging task of finishing a season void of much meaning.

The Daily breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly from Saturday’s 42-13 blowout:

The good

Well, the Nittany Lions didn’t get their shame-inducing touchdown. And that’s about it.

With four seconds left in the game, Penn State had the ball on Michigan’s six-yard line. James Franklin could have told his team to take a knee and ride quietly into the night with a 29-point lead.

Instead, the Nittany Lions sideline pleaded for a chance to put an exclamation point on the blowout. Penn State got the snap off in time, and sophomore running back Miles Sanders was given the ball with a chance to run up the score and rub salt in Michigan’s wound.

Thanks to Khaleke Hudson and Michael Dwumfour, Sanders was tackled for a four-yard loss and a game that had long been over finally came to a close.

The bad

Fifth-year senior quarterback John O’Korn didn’t mince words.

“The fake love’s gone,” he said. “There’s no bandwagon. It’s us. That’s what we want. Whether we’re doing great or bad, it’s just all about us, and from here on out, that’s what it’s going to be about.”

O’Korn couldn’t be more right.

For four weeks, Michigan convinced its fan base that a year intended for rebuilding could turn into something special. A loss to Michigan State dented that outlook. And last night’s thrashing in State College undoubtedly brought everyone back to reality.

Michigan’s College Football Playoff hopes are dead. A Big Ten championship would be an act of divine intervention.

It seemed likely that, eventually, the Wolverines would lose their second conference game. But the loss of their preseason goals stings a lot more given that it came in just week seven.

The Wolverines have five games left on their schedule, and they’ll be playing for nothing more than pride.

The ugly

What was once ranked as the No. 1 defense in the nation was battered, bruised and bludgeoned Saturday night.

It started with a 69-yard touchdown run by Saquon Barkley on the second play of a game. It ended with quarterback Trace McSorley trotting nine yards into the end zone before Franklin put in the reserves.

And there was plenty of damage done in between. Barkley totaled 108 yards and two touchdowns, McSorley tore apart the Wolverines’ secondary to the tune of 10.8 yards per attempt and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton posted a 115-yard performance.

The Nittany Lions became the first team to score 42 points against Michigan since Ohio State did so in 2015, and the Wolverines gave up 506 yards on the night.

McSorley said that the Nittany Lions took Michigan’s man coverage as a challenge. Saturday night, that certainly appeared to be the case.