Penn State continues to play like a national title contender seven games into its 2017 season. Michigan proved to be no match for the Nittany Lions on Saturday night, suffering a 42-13 loss at Beaver Stadium.
Surrounded by a program-record 110,823 fans, Penn State outclassed the Wolverines throughout a highly anticipated conference showdown. The Nittany Lions surged to a 14-0 lead within 5 minutes of kickoff and closed strong, scoring the contest’s final 28 points.
As a result, the team remains the unanimous No. 1 selection in our Land of 10 Power Poll. Penn State has won 13 consecutive Big Ten games, and James Franklin can put one in the victory column against the Wolverines after losing his first three matchups vs. Michigan.
“One of the things we’re doing, and I haven’t been around it very much, is we’re playing really good in all three phases,” Franklin said on Saturday night. “That doesn’t happen very often where offense, defense and special teams are all playing good enough to win. There are still a lot of things I think we can improve on, which is the exciting thing.”
A dynamic Penn State offensive backfield gave Michigan’s highly touted defense fits throughout the game.
Running back Saquon Barkley quickly put points on the board with a 69-yard rushing touchdown in the opening minute. He finished with 176 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns.
Barkley became the first player in Penn State history with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards. He is the fourth player in Big Ten competition to accomplish this feat.
Saquon … ARE YOU FOR REAL??? pic.twitter.com/DfMDGQWh4E
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 22, 2017
Quarterback Trace McSorley totaled 358 yards and 4 scores, including 3 rushing touchdowns. He now has 21 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this season.
Senior receiver DaeSean Hamilton led the Nittany Lions with 6 catches for 115 yards, adding to his total as the program’s all-time receptions leader. Mike Gesicki appeared to be back at full health following an upper-body injury suffered Sept. 30 against Indiana, pulling in 2 dazzling receptions that set up Penn State scores.
The Nittany Lions offense rolled up 506 yards against Michigan, which entered the game ranked No. 1 among FBS teams in yards allowed per game (223.8). Penn State’s defense turned in a far superior performance, limiting the Wolverines to 269 yards and sacking quarterback John O’Korn 7 times.
Eight different Nittany Lions players picked up at least half a sack in the game. Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda led the way with 13 tackles and a forced fumble.
Penn State heads to Ohio State on Saturday for another monumental Big Ten battle. The Buckeyes, listed No. 2 in our power poll, have won five consecutive games since suffering a Sept. 9 home defeat against Oklahoma.
Week 8 Land of 10 Power Poll vote totals
1. Penn State … 169 (13 first-place votes)
2. Ohio State… 154
3. Wisconsin … 145
4. Michigan State … 130
5. Michigan … 114
6. Northwestern … 100
7. Iowa … 90
8. Indiana … 72
9. Maryland … 59
10. Minnesota … 47
11. Nebraska … 46
12. Rutgers … 30
13. Purdue … 25
14. Illinois … 2