Penn State offense stumbles in 3rd straight loss to Michigan

STATE COLLEGE — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh wasn’t allowed to be at Beaver Stadium Saturday, but it didn’t matter.

The second-ranked Wolverines relied on their smothering defense and pounding ground game to beat ninth-ranked Penn State 24-15 before 110,856 mostly disappointed fans.

With Harbaugh somewhere else in State College because of a three-game Big Ten suspension over sign stealing, Michigan (7-0, 10-0) took a big step towards its third straight conference championship.

For the Nittany Lions (5-2, 8-2) and coach James Franklin, it was their 12th straight loss against a Big Ten opponent ranked in the top 10. Their third straight defeat to the Wolverines eliminated them from contention for the conference title and a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Blake Corum rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, the second one a 30-yarder with 4:15 to go right after Penn State couldn’t convert on fourth down.

The Lions mustered just two first downs in the second half before Corum’s late touchdown.

Facing the nation’s top-ranked defense, Penn State’s Drew Allar completed just 10-of-22 passes for 70 yards. He threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Theo Johnson with 1:59 to go, but a two-point conversion pass failed.

James Turner’s 22-yard field goal gave Michigan a 17-9 lead late in the third quarter, the first points the Lions had allowed in the third quarter this season.

The Wolverines did not attempt a pass in the second half, running it on 33 consecutive downs from late in the second quarter until the end of the game. J.J. McCarthy completed 7-of-8 passes for 60 yards.

Penn State scored first, driving from its 31 to a first down at the Michigan 3. But Kaytron Allen was stopped for no gain and Allar threw two incompletions.

The Lions ran five plays from the Michigan 4-yard line and had to settle for Alex Felkins’ 21-yard field goal.

Michigan stalled on its first two series before beginning to click with the help of exquisite play-calling against Penn State’s long-yardage package with seven defensive backs.

McCarthy ran around right end for 13 yards before he found Semaj Morgan on an inside screen for 19 yards to the Lions’ 6. Corum finished the drive with a 3-yard TD run.

On their next possession, the Wolverines again took advantage of Penn State’s light package when Corum ran around left end for 44 yards to the Lions’ 21. On third-and-11 from the 22, Donovan Edwards crashed into the line and then cut right to score to give Michigan a 14-3 lead.

Penn State responded with one of its biggest drives of the season, ignited by Allen’s 34-yard run. The Lions converted twice on fourth down.

On fourth-and-6 from the Wolverines’ 37, Allar connected with Kaden Saunders for a 13-yard gain. Then on fourth-and-1 from the 15, Allen took a pitchout and threw back to Allar for a 4-yard play. Allar finished it with an 11-yard TD on a quarterback draw with 29 seconds left in the half.

Franklin decided to go for two, but Allar’s pass was incomplete. Penn State offense stumbles in 3rd straight loss to Michigan

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