After two huge top-10 matchups, Saturday's game had the potential to be a hangover game for top-ranked Penn State. After a bit of a slow start it quickly became apparent that the Nittany Lions weren’t going to overlook the Big Ten’s bottom feeders, Michigan, as they rolled to a 17-7 win in Ann Arbor.
After the Nittany Lions raced out to an 8-1 lead, the game felt pretty much in the books at that point even with 40 minutes left to play. However, the Nittany Lions (10-1, 3-0 Big Ten) went into a cold spell on offense that lasted from early in the second quarter until the game was 10-7 in the middle of the third as the Wolverines (3-8, 0-3 Big Ten) started firing on all cylinders.
However, Penn State was able to show that the Wolverines had no business hanging with them, going on a quick run late in the third quarter to put the game out of reach for good.
Mac O’Keefe makes history
Junior attackman Mac O’Keefe made history in the first quarter as he became the Penn State record holder for career goals with the 128th of his Nittany Lion career. O’Keefe would finish the day with four goals, and 131 in his career. With over a season still left in Happy Valley, O’Keefe, one of the nation’s best goal scorers, has ample time to add to that total.
Gerard Arceri smashes records
With Michigan lacking a healthy face-off specialist, truly everyone that pays attention saw this coming but it is still impressive to see the numbers at the end of the game. Arceri went 22-of-27 at the face-off X and broke the Penn State record for face-off wins in a single game in Big Ten play.
Post Season Implications
The NCAA Lacrosse Committee put out their first rankings of the season on Saturday and the Nittany Lions were unsurprisingly sitting at the top. It’s no secret to anyone that if the season ended right now Penn State would be the tournament’s top seed.
With just two games left in the regular season, Penn State now has to be basically a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Even if the Nittany Lions were to drop their final two regular season games to Johns Hopkins and Rutgers, and their first round Big Ten Tournament game, they likely have a spot tin the tournament locked up.