Devin Gardner resorted to his turnover prone ways in the first half of the Michigan game played in Happy Valley, and as a result the Wolverines trailed at halftime 10-21 to the Nittany Lions of Penn State.
Yet, fortunately for the Maize & Blue fans across the nation, college football games have more than one half because by the time the forth quarter started, Michigan owned a 27-24 lead.
Michigan extended their lead early in the fourth to 34-24 with a Devin Funchess 37-yard TD reception from Gardner. It was at that point the Wolverines looked to be in control of the game and on their way to the biggest road victory in Brady Hoke’s coaching career at Michigan.
But, unfortunately for the Wolverines, there was still 10:00 minutes left in the game. And the dramatics were just about to being.
With just under 7 minutes remaining, the Nittany Lions put themselves in position for a succesful Sam Ficken’s 43-yard field goal attempt. That made the score 34-27 Michigan.
With 6:35 to go in the game, the Wolverines took possession of the ball and went on a 10-play, 31-yard drive that consumed 5:35 seconds of the remaining clock but unfortunately resulted in a punt instead of an extended-range field goal attempt.
Penn State then followed that punt with an 80-yard, 5-play drive and score that tied the contest at 34-all. That scoring drive culminated with a 1-yard Hackenberg quarterback sneak for the tie and was benefited by the huge, clutch Allen Robinson 36-yard jump-ball reception over the outstretched arms of the Michigan defender the play prior.
Michigan had one more shot to win the game in regulation but some conservative play calling led to a missed Brendan Gibbons 52-yard field goal attempt that just fell short of the crossbar.
Multiple missed opportunities later and in four overtimes, the game finally ended when the Wolverine defense was called for pass interference and the Nittany Lions scored on a 2-yard Bill Belton run which ended the classic 43-40.
The Wolverines held a 13 minute time of possession advantage in the very competitive contest and one week after playing turnover free against Minnesota, Blue committed three turnovers in the game with quarterback Devin Gardner responsible for all of them (two interceptions and a fumble). Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons missed on two game winning field goal attempts and had one blocked in overtime.
The Michigan defense surrender 390 total yards to Penn State.
The Wolverine coaching staff will have plenty to think about when they watch the film on this game. There were many decisions made that led to the outcome of the first loss of the season. Up next for Michigan is a home game against Indiana before the Wolverines travel to East Lansing to face the bitter rival MSU Spartans.