Saturday, September 22, 2007

Horror in Ann Arbor; Penn State loses 9th straight to Michigan

By Sean Pollard
The Phanatic Magazine

Mike Hart rushed 153 yards on a career-high 44 carries with a fourth-quarter touchdown, as the Michigan Wolverines continued their dominance against Penn State with a 14-9 victory over the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions at The Big House.

Hart recorded his 23rd 100-yard rushing game, breaking the school mark previously held by Anthony Thomas.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett completed 16-of-29 passes for 170 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Wolverines (2-2, 1-0 Big Ten), who have won nine straight against Penn State dating back to 1996.

Anthony Morelli was ineffective for the Nittany Lions (3-1, 0-1), completing 15-of-31 passes for 169 yards with a first-quarter fumble that led to Michigan's first touchdown.

One week after scoring 45 points against Buffalo, Penn State managed just three Kevin Kelly field goals. Rodney Kinlaw rushed for 69 yards on 12 carries, while Austin Scott carried the ball nine times for 35 yards.

After Kelly's 29-yard field goal brought Penn State within 7-6 with just 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Wolverines embarked on a 15- play, 77-yard scoring drive that ate up over six minutes of the clock.

The Nittany Lions stopped Hart twice inside their own six-yard line, but a pass interference call on Andrew Quarless on 3rd-and-goal gave Michigan new life. One play later, Hart bulled his way across the goal line to make it 14-6 Michigan with just under nine minutes remaining.

Kelly's 38-yarder brought Penn State back within 14-9 with just over six minutes to play, but Michigan was unable to run the clock down to under two minutes thanks to two key third down conversions by Mallett.

Penn State eventually got the ball on its own 13-yard line with 1:28 remaining. However, left with no timeouts, the Nittany Lions turned the ball over after four straight incompletions by Morelli.

After the teams traded punts to start the game, Brandon Graham sacked Morelli, forcing the Penn State QB to fumble and Chris Graham grabbed the loose ball to give Michigan possession on the Nittany Lions' 10 yard line.

The Wolverines wasted little time taking advantage of the turnover, as Mallett ran it in himself to give Michigan the lead.

Morelli led Penn State into Michigan territory on its following possession, but the drive stalled at the Wolverines' 31-yard line and Penn State was forced to punt.

The Nittany Lions got on the board in the second quarter thanks to an 11-play, 69-yard drive that culminated with Kelly's 28-yard field goal. Michigan had a chance to get the points right back, but kicker Jason Gingell pushed his 29- yard attempt wide right.

Michigan marched right back down the field on its next possession, but Lydell Sargeant picked off Mallett right before halftime.

Penn State made it down to the Michigan 11-yard line on its first possession of the second half but Scott fumbled for the third time in the last two games.

Mallett, however, gave the ball back to Penn State when he fumbled a snap.

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