5 Takeaways From Michigan's 42-7 Win Over Penn State

5 Takeaways From Michigan's 42-7 Win Over Penn State

Football

5 Takeaways From Michigan's 42-7 Win Over Penn State

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan completely made this game theirs from kick-off to the final play of the game. Michigan defeated Penn State 42-7 in a blowout victory against another top 15 team in the country. Michigan won, but there are still some questions left to be answered and some takeaways to be talked about. Check out my thoughts below.

1. Does Jim Harbaugh trust his defense or does he not have faith in Quinn Nordin?

Kicker Quinn Nordin has had a rough year for Michigan, going 11/15 on the season and today he had his only field goal attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown. Luckily, the touchdown was erased due to penalties and Michigan was able to get the ball back off a fumble a few plays later.

What happened the rest of the game is interesting as head coach Jim Harbaugh never let Nordin try kicking again. Michigan was 1/2 on fourth down attempts and we don’t know why. Both times they were in field goal range and they went with a pass or run to try and get the first instead of points.

Now is it because Harbaugh doesn’t have faith in his kicker anymore? Or is it because he knew his defense could stop Penn State if they had short field position? We don’t know and couldn’t tell, but that is something to watch for the rest of the season.

2. The Defensive Line Is Nasty

The defense as a whole is an impressive unit from top to bottom. Every position has a good player and someone who can have an impact on the game by himself. The defensive line today though, showed they are the best part of that defense with the play they have and the depth at the position.

At defensive back and linebacker, there is depth but nothing very special. At the defensive line spot, there are multiple backups that play and can be very dangerous for the team. Defensive end Rashan Gary returned after missing the last two games and his presence alone was shown as others like Josh Uche, Kwity Paye, and Chase Winovich stepped up and safeties Khaleke Hudson and Jordan Glasgow even got some sacks due to the pressure from the defensive line.

This team contained Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley very well and sacked him and his backup Tommy Stevens a combined five times and held the Nittany Lions to 68 rushing yards total.

3. TARIK BLACK Played limited once again

Wide receiver Tarik Black played more this week, but only saw the ball go his way once and it was for a touchdown, but sadly it was overturned due to a holding penalty.

The plays that Black was in for a majority for were running plays as he was used to just block the cornerback. Very few times he ran a route and was a receiver instead of a blocker. Harbaugh said he was cleared by doctors and wide receiver Grant Perry said he was practicing fully this week, so why isn’t Black playing anymore or having the ball go his way?

4. It’s Shea Or Nothing

The starting quarterback Shea Patterson is the real deal for the Michigan Wolverines. He continues to play at a high level and impresses everyone every week. His backup, Dylan McCaffrey, also impressed people when he plays, but his season is now over and that isn’t good for the Wolverines.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed after the game that McCaffrey suffered a broken collarbone and now with that news, the backup is Brandon Peters with third-string Joe Milton. Peters played well last year, not great, not horrible, just well and if Patterson goes down, so does the Wolverines chances of winning. If Patterson were to go down and McCaffrey was healthy, fans would be confident and the team wouldn’t lose much. With Peters, the team could take a step back, and we can’t say anything about Milton.

5. Karan Higdon Is Michigan’s Best Back In a decade

Michigan has had some good running backs the past decade, but none are as good as running back Karan Higdon. He is now on a seven-game, 100-yard streak and now has 963 yards on the season as he should reach 1,000 yards during the Rutgers game next week.

The last running back to have an eight-game 100-yard rushing streak? Mike Hart, Michigan’s last great running back. Higdon is going to do that as, again, Michigan plays Rutgers, the worst team in the Big Ten. Higdon was almost going to go to Iowa and flipped on National Signing Day when he was coming into college, and that decision seems to be the right one in the end.

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