Posted October 14, 2013

Penn State outlasts Michigan 43-40 in wild four-overtime thriller

Big Ten, Leaders & Legends, Michigan Wolverines, Penn State Nittany Lions
Bill Belton

Bill Belton celebrates after scoring the game-winning TD in the fourth OT vs. Michigan. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Coming into Saturday, Michigan had already escaped a pair of close calls in 2013. Like Rasputin, the Wolverines kept finding ways to survive, narrowly topping Akron in Week 3 and UConn in Week 4.

It took four overtimes, but the Wolverines finally ran out of luck on the road at Penn State. They fell 43-40 in a contest that was loaded with late-game drama.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner (15-of-28, 240 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions) was shaky at times, and it initially looked like Penn State would match the Wolverines stride for stride. However, after coach Brady Hoke’s team rallied to take a 34-24 lead on a Gardner-to-Devin Funchess scoring strike with just more than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions’ hopes seems all but dashed.

That changed after Penn State kicker Sam Ficken netted a 43-yard field goal to cut the deficit to one score and Michigan was unable to extend the lead despite a long drive in which the Wolverines were aided by a questionable pass interference call. Lions true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg got the ball back with with less than a minute remaining and a chance to tie the game.

Hackenberg hit star receiver Allen Robinson, who somehow managed to get one foot inbounds, for a 29-yard completion to move the chains. Then Hackenberg connected with Robinson again for an incredible leaping grab to get the Nittany Lions down to the one-yard line. Hackenberg sneaked in the score, and although Michigan charged back to force a potential game-winning 52-yard field goal attempt (kicker Brendan Gibbons missed), the game moved to overtime.

Ficken would miss a 40-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime, and Gibbons had his attempt blocked to force a second OT. (Sensing a trend?) The teams then traded field goals, but Michigan seemed set to emerge after Robinson fumbled on an end around on the first play of the third overtime. Alas, Michigan couldn’t capitalize; Gibbons missed a 33-yard field goal to improbably keep the Lions afloat.

Gibbons would hit his kick to start the fourth overtime, but Penn State opted to go for it on fourth-and-one from the 16-yard line instead of attempting another field goal. The Nittany Lions converted, and a few plays later, running back Bill Belton scored a touchdown from two yards out to give Penn State a dramatic win.

Michigan might have been ranked a bit too high coming into Week 7, but this is why most rankings fiascos sort themselves out naturally. The Wolverines will be moved down accordingly come Sunday morning. As for Penn State, it’s tough not to be impressed with Hackenberg. The former five-star recruit is making the typical freshman mistakes, but he has a big arm and plenty of poise. For every head-shaking mistake, he makes another throw that offers a glimpse of his tantalizing potential.

The Wolverines will look to rebound next week against Indiana. The Nittany Lions will look to ride their momentum into a bye week before an Oct. 26 showdown with Ohio State in Columbus.

15 comments
AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

Michigan with extremely young team that is still figuring it out - I mean, when you root for michigan, you're used to dumbarse haters showing up and pouncing on every loss or almost loss 


They're not that great this year but are loaded with talent and are very young and still waiting on their pro-style QB to come into play.  It is what it is.  But all the "Michigan will always suck" "Brady Joke" "Michigan is this or that" pathetic  rants say more about you than it does about them.   

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Michigan should have dropped out of the rankings after the Akron game.  This is why the rankings are a joke. Teams live on their 'reputation'. To have them at 18th was ridiculous. They aren't in the top 35 or 40. 

JimKirkwood1
JimKirkwood1

Quite a weekend. It doesn't seem like there is a dominant team. Maybe Oregon.

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

Amazing win for Penn State...........

Yipicya
Yipicya

If I'm Tom Harmon's family, I'm asking Brady Joke to stop "honoring" him.  Can we stop talking about the crappy team up North as if they are anything but bound for the Beef O'Brady Bowl if that?  They suck, they always suck and Brady Joke is proving to be as big a miss as was Rich Rod


MrArlington
MrArlington

That this team was still ranked as high as 18th despite playing like crap this season is an absolute joke.

shadotp
shadotp

Michigan is just a mediocre college team at best. The Wolverines' defense is pathetic, and the kicker is a choker. The Akron and Connecticut games showed just how far this once-proud program has fallen. Nice win for Penn State, but this is not the Michigan of old. Penn State will get slaughtered in Columbus in two weeks. Ohio State is a real team. Don't be surprised if Michigan does not win another game this year. I don't think Indiana will have too much trouble against the Wolverines.

MarieCornelius
MarieCornelius

Tonight's game = Better than any bowl game. Screw you Emmert!

NickGarrison
NickGarrison

@AaronDunckel I guess the point is this...Michigan fans feel entitled and act like they are still relevant...when in reality, they are not.  You have not even won a Big 10 championship in a DECADE.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@JimKirkwood1 Seems as if the same thing has been written for the past few years.  In September and October.   Oh, and that upstart program down in Tuscaloosa seems as if it might have a chance to hang around til the end this year.

woodson26
woodson26

@Yipicya Brady Joke, eh?

How long did it take you to come up with that?