Final Thoughts: Penn State 28, Michigan 21

By Barry Leonard on October 19, 2019 at 11:19 pm
Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver KJ Hamler (1) catches a pass for a touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

This one had shades of the Purdue game a few weeks ago, as the Nittany Lions once again found themselves going through a lull on offense in the middle of the game. Fortunately, the team woke up just enough in the fourth quarter and was able to pull away from the Wolverines. 

There were some tense moments, however, as Penn State continued to suffer from an inconsistent offense in the third quarter. A pretty Sean Clifford to KJ Hamler touchdown hookup early in the fourth quarter swung the momentum back on the side of the Nittany Lions. 

For the second straight week, Penn State made a statement to the college football world during a nationally televised game. 

  • Freshman running back Noah Cain entered this week looking like the lead dog in the Penn State backfield after going for over 100 yards in the last two games. Instead, Cain was almost nonexistent in this one. He carried the ball just five times for 19 total yards. Penn State will need Cain and the running game to be productive moving forward. 
  • It wasn't pretty, but Sean Clifford got it done when needed. While he didn't put up huge numbers through the air (182 yards), he did hook up on two big touchdown passes with KJ Hamler and added another one to tight end Pat Freiermuth. 
  • The defense as a whole showed some weaknesses, particular on third-and-long, but linebacker Micah Parsons is an absolute beast. He was all over the field and made big plays when needed. Parsons led the Nittany Lions with 14 total tackles. 
  • KJ Hamler needs to get more national recognition. The dude is an elite playmaker, both on offense and in the return game. Hamler is a threat to make a big play each time he touches the ball, and he showed that in this game. 
  • If Penn State keeps rolling and eventually makes it to the College Football Playoff, that huge defensive stand on the goal line late in the fourth quarter will be remembered for a long time. 

After knocking off the Wolverines, the Nittany Lions move to 7-0 and will head into East Lansing next week to take on the Michigan State Spartans. 

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