Halftime Thoughts: Penn State 17, Michigan 7

By Matt de Bear on November 28, 2020 at 1:39 pm
Nov 28, 2020; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Caziah Holmes (26) rushes against the Michigan Wolverines in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State started fast, and has largely controlled the game through the first 30 minutes in Ann Arbor. Behind touchdown runs from Keyvone Lee and Sean Clifford, the Nittany Lions lead the host Wolverines 17-7 at the break.

  • The Lions had their best start since the first game of the year vs. Indiana. Behind a strong running game with Keyvone Lee and some timely passes from Sean Clifford, Penn State marched 75 yards to go up 7-0. The defense stepped up on the ensuing drive, getting Michigan off of the field on a fourth down.
  • Speaking of Lee, the true freshman got the call with Devyn Ford away from the team due to a death in his family, according to the ABC broadcast. Fellow Florida freshman Caziah Holmes is serving as the backup.
  • Clifford got the start after being benched vs. Iowa last week. While he hasn't been electric with his arm, he has protected the ball, his biggest failure through the first five games of the seasons. Even after suffering an apparent knee injury, however, he flashed his running ability, putting Penn State up by a score with a 28-yard carry, only his second rush of the game.
  • Sticking with the freshmen, Parker Washington has looked good once again. He has been Clifford's top target with seven of Penn State's nine receptions. He has also flashed some solid ability after the catch.
  • The Nittany Lion defense has not been dominant, but it has largely made plays when needed. They got a pass breakup on the aforementioned fourth down, and also a couple of key stops on third down to get off of the field.
  • James Franklin has talked a ton about turnovers through the 0-5 start. Penn State has held onto the ball through the first 30 minutes, and also capitalized on a muffed punt late in the second quarter to go up 17-7 at the break.