Michigan Aiming to Make Penn State Pay for 'Disrespectful' Last Play in 2017

Michigan Aiming to Make Penn State Pay for 'Disrespectful' Last Play in 2017

Football

Michigan Aiming to Make Penn State Pay for 'Disrespectful' Last Play in 2017

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It was the ultimate sign of disrespect. Last year, as No. 19 Michigan matched up against No. 2 Penn State for a white out at night in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions, already up 42-13, lined up and ran a play near the Wolverines goal line with the seconds winding down. While it looked like that last play would ice the game as there were just 22 seconds left on the clock, PSU showed no mercy in the blowout: lining up to run a play with an eye towards the end zone with just one second left in regulation.

Running back Miles Sanders got the ball in his hands, but on 2nd and goal was tackled for a four yard loss to end the game.

Don’t think that that moment has been forgotten by this No. 5 Michigan team that will be hosting No. 14 Penn State on Saturday afternoon.

While the Wolverines haven’t given that moment a ton of thought, it is something that’s been brought up in the locker room, particularly by defensive coordinator Don Brown — who already admitted to Brad Galli on the Inside Michigan Football radio show a week ago that he thinks about that game every single morning.

These players remembered that moment anyhow, and now, they’re out for revenge.

“Yeah, I find that disrespectful,” junior safety Josh Metellus said. “It’s two seconds left on the clock and they’re trying to run the ball to run up the score even more. I just take that personally. This game’s real personal.”

Second-year defensive end Kwity Paye got his first extended action in that game and recorded his first career sack earlier in the contest. But that doesn’t stick out for him as much as that moment did.

“Last year, we still remember: fourth quarter, five seconds left in the game, they had their players in, they ran that last play,” Paye said. “So we just put that in our back pocket and we just remember that as we’re working that they disrespected us, so we have to come out and show them who we are this year.”

He continued: “I don’t know what they were trying to pull or what message they were trying to send. We’re just remembering that every single day, every single practice.”

For Metellus, it’s definitely a game that he already thinks about. The Wolverines safeties were brutalized by the Penn State passing offense, which kept making quick strikes, particularly to whoever either Metellus or Tyree Kinnel was on. Since then, Michigan adjusted, and Metellus not only got to be much better in coverage over the past year, but he recently was rated as the top defensive back in coverage across all of college football by scouting website Pro Football Focus.

Michigan’s defense kept the Wolverines in every game last year, save for one: that road game in Happy Valley. Now, Metellus is out for revenge.

“I think about it a lot, because I don’t like losing, and I really don’t like losing like that, where, you know, we looked like we had no chance,” Metellus said. “It’s just one of those things where I felt like – I’m pretty sure everybody on the defense felt like we could have did something better to improve the output of the game.

“Just one of those games where you’ve just gotta take it as a chip on your shoulder and just move on, but you have to improve so that next time you get your opportunity, since we do, that we’ve gotta make a run for it.”

For Paye, the lasting impression was how the Penn State players acted after that final play.

When Brown pulled it up for his defense to see, he saw the Nittany Lions players celebrating. That’s not an instance he plans to relive.

“We still remember it, but Coach Brown had pulled it up and he had pulled up the play and saw the guys on the sidelines smiling, high-fiving each other,” Paye said. “We just take that to heart.”

Metellus says that there’s just one thing Michigan can do about it this Saturday: go out and make Penn State pay for that moment.

“We brought it up – it’s not nothing we stress on,” he said. “It is what it is – you can’t do nothing about it now. All we can do is go out Saturday and make a statement.”

Kickoff between the two Big Ten East Division foes is set for 3:45PM at The Big House. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor on the call.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home