Welcome to www.Collegefootballfan.com
"Get off the couch and go to a game!"
The Goal - See 'em all!
Penn State rolls Michigan, 35-10; Clark tosses four TD passes
Fans not too happy with Rich-Rod
Ann Arbor, MI - Darryl Clark connected with Graham Zug for three TD passes and with TE Andrew Quarles on a 60-yarder to lead the No. 12 Nittany Lions (7-1, 3-1) past a faltering Michigan team (5-3, 1-3) on a rainy afternoon at Michigan's famous "Big House" in front of an announced crowd of 110,377. The PSU defense allowed 250 yards but no TDs after the Wolverines' first possession of the game. For Collegefootballfan.com, it was our first trip to this venue, our 43rd among the FBS schools over the years. We enjoyed a tailgate despite the weather (bad once again) with Michigan alum and former cheerleader Dave Imrick who along with many other Wolverine fans is disheartened, to say the least, by the leadership of second year HC Rich Rodriguez. Dave voiced his displeasure throughout the game, but displayed his passion for his alma mater throughout the weekend and during game. The Lions defeated U of M for the second year in a row. Michigan still holds a 4-2 advantage over PSU in games we've attended between the two. For PSU, it was their first win at The Big House since 1996.
Michigan scored on its opening series on a one-yard TD by Brandon Minor and Dave thought his team was off to the races. He high-fived with his fellow Michigan fans but got no response from this PSU fan. I explained to Dave that it's always the second offensive series that determines if a team 's offense will be successful for the remainder of the game. Penn State came back to tie the score on only three plays with Clark's first TD pass to Zug (5 catches for 59 yards) from 10 yards out. In return, I offered Dave a double high-five, but he refused in front all of his suddenly quiet fellow Maize and Blue fans surrounding us. The TD was set up by Evan Royster's 41-yard run to the Michigan eight. Royster gained 100 yards on 20 carries this day. As I had warned Dave, Michigan went three and out on its next series. PSU started from its own 35-yard line and got into position where Collin Wagner booted a 35-yarder to give PSU a 10-7 lead. PSU got the best out of its offense on
the second series of the game - a good sign for the Nittany Lions.
Michigan's offense was completely stymied in the second period. An interception by Navarro Bowman of Denard Robinson, more a running-type QB, resulted in a punt putting Michigan at their own eight. Two penalties put U of M on their own two. As Tate Forcier barked signals and looked to his left, C David Moosman snapped the ball to Forcier's right while he wasn't looking resulting in two points for the visitors. The Nittany Lions took over after the ensuing free kick at their own 40. Clark dropped back and connected with Quarles who outraced the Michigan secondary sixty yards for a quick score to extend the lead, 19-7. With :09 left in the half, Jason Olesnavage put the Wolverines on the board again with a 23-ayard FG. The Lions led 19-10. Dave was not happy.
Penn State's Blue Band performed before the Wolverine marching band on this dreary, wet day. The PSU band sat along the sideline to the left of their team right across from us while the game was being played. Dave had admitted to me a day earlier, that as an avid basketball player during high school, his athletic career at Michigan came to a halt as he focused on his studies in chemistry. A good friend of his from high school, herself a cheerleader, suggested to Dave that he come out for the squad. As any typical, red-blooded, American male athlete would reply, he basically said that he wasn't that type of guy! She insisted and he went to check things out with her. The kind of guys he met wasn't what he expected. The majority of them were former high school basketball and football players like himself - generally a good bunch of guys, he realized. He tried out and made the team and had a good time over his years at U of M flipping girls up in the air and catching them. He has no regrets and to the contrary enjoyed his time on the squad very much getting to perform along the sidelines at all the home games and getting to travel to some of the other stadiums in the Big Ten. Dave said one of his buddies married his cheerleading partner. On Saturday, we met up with a bunch of his former cheerleader friends and a couple of guys who played on the football team as well. They meet pretty regularly to tailgate near the first hole on the golf course that's open to the general public on game days. They had a great set-up with canopies under some shade trees with grills fired up, cold beers, and his friend Dan's pickup truck, complete with HDTV hooked up to a computer for reception to the Ohio State-Minnesota game in the bed of his truck. The guys, who had partied at their old dorm until the wee hours of the morning met up with some younger, former female cheerleaders who happened by. The girls seemed pretty amazed that they were suddenly introduced to about six or seven male cheerleaders who preceded them. I guess there's some benefits to being a male cheerleader, but I don't think I could have ever done that. I definitely would have felt out of place, or I would have gotten into some type of trouble. In my case, I'd prefer to play or to watch football and female cheerleaders from afar.
Penn State's defense dominated in the third and Clark ( (16 of 27 for 230 yards) threw two more scores to Zug in the third, one from eleven yards and the second from seventeen for a 32-10 lead going into the final period. We noted throughout the game, that Michigan defenders gave a lot of cushion to Penn State wide receivers giving them plenty of room to catch the ball. On offense, Michigan TE Kevin Koger dropped three easy catches that hit him right in the hands. His replacement, Marcell Webb made matters worse when he did the same. On kickoffs as well as the free kick following the safety, kicks did not get much farther than the 20.
In the final period, the most interesting exchange took place in the stands and not on the field. PSU punted at the Michigan 44 where Wolverine Kevin Leach roughed P Jeremy Boone for a 15-yard penalty giving PSU a fresh first down. Dave hollered that Rodriguez is a horrible coach and that it was already time for him to go. Another ardent Michigan fan several rows below us snapped, "What are you mad at Rodriguez for? What does he have to do with roughing the punter!" To which Dave replied, "His offense sucks, his defense sucks, and his special teams suck! He's the Head Coach and he's responsible for the play of the entire team!" He was impassioned. He admitted afterward that these two years have been hard to take after following U of M football for 32 years where nine to ten wins and a conference championship and a bowl bid were always the norm. He said that if Carr had stayed, former QB Ryan Mallet would have stayed as would have other players and that Michigan would at least still be getting its share of wins. Not only did Rodriguez bring in a different style of play, but he brings in too much baggage with all the off the field stuff that's been going on. PSU converted the the Michigan miscue into three points with a Wagner 29-yard FG, and the Lions went on to win the game at Michigan, 35-10. Should the Wolverines stick with "R-Rod" through the end of this year? Ask Dave. He can't take any more of seeing his alma mater decimated like this. College football - it's nothing without its impassioned fans like Dave.
Extra points - For the second week in a row, PSU had no turnovers (more points to follow).
PSU is now 62-20 in our annals while Michigan is 4-2, all against Penn State.