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Oct. 18, 2008
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Third-ranked Penn State delivered a tremendous final three quarters after a slow start en route to a 46-17 thumping of Michigan before a raucous Homecoming crowd of 110,017.
The Nittany Lions improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten to set-up a showdown for first place in the conference standings with No. 12/11 Ohio State next Saturday in Columbus. Penn State is 8-0 for the 10th time under Coach Joe Paterno and off to its best start since the 1999 squad began 9-0.
The fourth-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history saw the Wolverines take leads of 10-0 and 17-7 before the Nittany Lions came storming back. After Michigan took a 17-7 lead with 13:13 left in the second quarter, the swarming Penn State defense allowed only 87 yards the remainder of the game for a total of 291.
Sophomore tailback Evan Royster cracked 100 yards before halftime and finished with a career-best 174 yards on just 18 carries, for a superlative 9.7 average, and one touchdown. Royster made one of the game's momentum-changing plays when he broke away from several would-be tacklers for a 44-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to draw the Lions within 10-7.
Junior quarterback Daryll Clark was 18 of 31 for 171 yards, with a three-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Norwood with :23 left in the half to make it 17-14. Clark also ran for 45 yards and two one-yard touchdowns in the second half, as the Nittany Lions ran off 39 consecutive points to end the game
Senior Deon Butler had a huge effort with a season-high eight receptions, second-highest in his career, for 105 yards, good for his fourth career 100-yard game. Norwood had four catches for 28 yards and freshman tailback Stephfon Green took a pass from Pat Devlin 80 yards in the fourth quarter to close the scoring. Green also gained 28 rushing yards.
Penn State again achieved tremendous offensive balance, throwing for 251 and rushing for 231 for a total of 482. The Lions gained 401 yards over the final three quarters.
Michigan gained 185 yards in the first quarter and added 19 yards early in the second for 204 total and a 17-7 lead. But, from that point, the nationally ranked Penn State defense was relentless. The Nittany Lions recorded a season-high 13 tackles for loss, with three sacks (one resulting a safety), forced two fumbles (recovering one) and partially blocked a punt.
Sophomore linebacker Navorro Bowman tied his career-high with 11 tackles, with one TFL, earning his fourth double figure tackle game of the season. Senior LB Tyrell Sales made 10 stops, senior CB Tony Davis had a career-high eight hits with a TFL and true freshman LB Michael Mauti had a season-high seven stops, with a TFL, a forced fumble.
Defensive tackle Jared Odrick made a career-best six stops, with 2.5 TFL and a huge sack in the end zone with 4:39 left in the third quarter to give Penn State a 19-17 lead. Junior linebacker Josh Hull made five hits with 1.5 TFL and sophomore DE Aaron Maybin made four stops with 2.0 TFL, a sack and a forced fumble.
The Wolverines took their first possession 86 yards in 14 plays for a 7-0 lead. Running back Brandon Minor scored on a five-yard run with 6:51 left in the first quarter.
On Penn State's second possession, quarterback Daryll Clark was hit by Michigan's John Thompson and fumbled, with the Wolverines recovering at their own 45. K.C. Lopata connected on a 27-yard field goal to give the visitors a 10-0 lead.
A 43-yard kickoff return by Chaz Powell gave the Lions the ball at their own 48. On second down, Evan Royster was hit near the line of scrimmage, but bounced off several would-be tacklers and zipped up the middle for a 44-yard score, the longest run of his career. Kevin Kelly's extra point made it 10-7 with 2:57 left in the opening period.
On the ensuing kickoff, freshman linebacker Michael Mauti forced Sam McGuffie to fumble, but the Wolverines recovered. Michigan drove 78 yards, with Minor scoring on a one-yard run to make it 17-7 early in the second quarter.
Penn State drove to the Michigan 27, but Kevin Kelly's 45-yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright.
Late in half, the Nittany Lions drove 74 yards in nine plays to draw within a field goal. A 14-yard run by Royster pushed him above 100 yards for the fifth time this season. On third and goal, Clark drilled a four-yard pass to Jordan Norwood just over the goal line with :23 left in the half to make it 17-14. The score was Penn State's seventh of the season in the final 2:00 of the first half this season (4 FG, 3 TD).
On Michigan's next possession, the Wolverines were deep in their own territory. On third down, Jared Odrick sacked quarterback Nick Sheridan in the end zone to give the Nittany Lions their first lead at 19-17. The safety was Penn State's first since Dan Connor earned a sack in the end zone against Illinois in 2006.
The Nittany Lions took possession at the 50 and quickly extended its lead. Clark finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 26-17 with 3:04 left in the third quarter. For the season, Penn State has out-scored the opposition, 87-13, in the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, freshman linebacker Nate Stupar partially blocked a punt and the Lions took over at the Michigan 37. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kelly connected on a 32-yard field to make it 29-17 and become the Big Ten career kick scoring leader. He finished the game with 376 points, surpassing Minnesota's Dan Nystrom and Iowa's Nate Kaeding with 367 points.
On Michigan's next possession, Maybin sacked quarterback Steven Threet and forced a fumble that DT Abe Koroma pounced on at the UM 19. After a 15-yard completion from Clark to Norwood, Clark scored from one yard out to make it 36-17 with 12:13 to play.
Kelly connected on a 20-yard field goal and Pat Devlin connected with tailback Green on an 80-yard TD pass to close the scoring.
Penn State visits No. 12/11 Ohio State on Saturday for an 8:00 p.m. clash. The Buckeyes defeated Michigan State, 45-7, today The contest is an ABC national telecast and will air on the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.