Michigan-Penn State live updates (2024)

Michigan prevailed in its first ranked matchup of the season against Penn State.

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Austin Meek, Audrey Snyder and The Athletic College Football Staff

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(Photo: Scott Taetsch / Getty Images)

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Austin Meek·Staff Writer, Michigan

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Michigan didn’t need Jim Harbaugh, a judge or a sign-stealer to keep rolling

Michigan didn’t need a judge, a jury, a sign-stealer, a passing game or even its head coach.

The No. 3 Wolverines had everything they needed to beat No. 10 Penn State 24-15 Saturday at Beaver Stadium, capping what might have been the strangest week in Michigan history. This will be remembered as the week Michigan and the Big Ten went to war, the week Jim Harbaugh got suspended, the week Michigan players showed up at the stadium hoping for a last-minute court order that would allow Harbaugh to join them.

Read more here.

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November 11, 2023 at 7:03 PM ESTAudrey Snyder·Staff Writer, Penn State

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Penn State is a program stuck on repeat

During the final minutes of Penn State’s latest loss to an elite opponent, Nittany Lions fans stopped along the railing during their walk toward the exits.

Michigan’s 24-15 win over Penn State was cemented, and some of the blue and white faithful had hit their boiling point. It was the most tense it’s been during James Franklin’s 10-year tenure — more than the boos at halftime in 2016 against Minnesota, more than the stunned disbelief after the one-point loss to Ohio State in 2018.

Read more here.

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The Athletic NFL Staff

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What is J.J. McCarthy’s NFL Draft stock?

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy entered Saturday’s top-10 showdown at Penn State firmly in the Heisman race — he sat sixth in The Athletic’s straw poll this week. He’s also maintained a firm hold on the QB3 slot in Dane Brugler’s 2024 NFL Draft rankings since the summer, right behind likely No. 1 and No. 2 picks Caleb Williams and Drake Maye.

In a hard-fought, 24-15 win over the Nittany Lions, though, the Jim Harbaugh-less Wolverines took it out of their QB’s hands and leaned on their run game. Not counting kneel-downs at the end of the game, Michigan ran the ball on all 28 of its offensive plays in the second half. McCarthy did attempt one throw, which resulted in a pass interference flag against Penn State, so it doesn’t count toward the official play total.

McCarthy’s stat line for the day: 7-of-8 for 60 yards plus 34 yards rushing. Included in that rushing total is a key fourth-and-1 conversion that McCarthy converted midway through the third quarter, pulling the ball after a play-action fake and juking a defender to gain 9.

For Michigan’s season (and its College Football Playoff chances), it was a massive result. For McCarthy’s 2024 NFL Draft stock? We might not have learned a whole lot, but there’s still plenty to discuss. Our draft experts break it down here.

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How J.J. McCarthy's performance against Penn State impacted his Heisman campaign

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(Photo: Scott Taetsch / Getty Images)

Michigan won, but J.J. McCarthy's Heisman campaign took a hit by only throwing for 60 yards today. Before this game, his odds to win the award were +600 on BetMGM. They're now at +800. His stock has been in decline recently. He was second only to Michael Penix Jr. at +300 less than two weeks ago.

Penix is the current favorite with +150 odds, followed by Bo Nix (+200). McCarthy, Jordan Travis and Marvin Harrison Jr. are all +800, each with big games still ahead to boost their chances.

November 11, 2023 at 3:41 PM ESTAustin Meek·Staff Writer, Michigan

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Michigan’s title quest continues

Plenty of people around the Big Ten have been rooting for Michigan’s winning streak to end, especially after the revelations of the past few weeks. But the Wolverines just keep rolling and now boast a 22-game Big Ten winning streak as they approach what could be the most intense Michigan-Ohio State game ever played.

The Wolverines still need to get by Maryland next week, but the stars are aligning for another undefeated showdown against the Buckeyes. Will Harbaugh be there? Stay tuned.

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The Athletic College Football

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Michigan defeats Penn State despite Jim Harbaugh’s absence

As suspended coach Jim Harbaugh sat in a hotel room watching his Michigan team play its first ranked matchup of the season, the No. 2 Wolverines cruised to a 24-15 win over No. 9 Penn State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

It’s safe to say no acting head coach in college football history has had a day quite like Sherrone Moore’s. The Wolverines prepared during the week for the possibility that Harbaugh would be suspended, but they woke up Saturday morning not knowing whether a judge would grant a temporary restraining order that would allow Harbaugh to coach. A little more than an hour before kickoff, Michigan confirmed that it did not expect a ruling until a hearing next week. Moore, Michigan’s offensive coordinator, was officially the man in charge. With a dose of old-school Michigan football, Moore pushed the right buttons to lead the Wolverines to victory in a hostile environment.

Michigan’s reliance on the ground game meant running back Blake Corum had a productive day, rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns. The Wolverines finished with 227 total rushing yards, but QB J.J. McCarthy attempted only eight passes, completing seven of them for 60 yards.

Nittany Lions QB Drew Allar was 10-of-22 for 70 yards and one TD. He also rushed for an 11-yard score.

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November 11, 2023 at 3:26 PM ESTMatt Brown·Deputy Managing, College Football

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Harrowing day for Penn State

Penn State has lost 13 of its past 14 games against AP top-10 teams since its win in the 2016 Big Ten title game.

It is also 4-16 against Michigan and Ohio State under James Franklin.

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November 11, 2023 at 3:25 PM ESTAudrey Snyder·Staff Writer, Penn State

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The turning point

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Drew Allar has been nearly turnover free this season, entering the game having thrown 20 touchdowns to one interception. The biggest turnover of the sophom*ore’s career came on the Nittany Lions’ opening drive of the second half. Allar, faced with third-and-2 would’ve picked up the first down but fumbled. The Wolverines recovered at the Penn State 49-yard line and turned the fumble into a 22-yard field goal. Teammates and coaches consoled the quarterback on the sideline. It was a momentum-shifting moment — and it also took more than 8 minutes off the clock. The field goal put the Wolverines up 17-9.

Allar completed 10 of 2 passes for 70 yards and one touchdown. He had an 11-yard rushing touchdown but by and large Penn State had nothing going through the air. Top wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith was held without a catch (as of time of filing at least with 10:20 left in the game).

November 11, 2023 at 3:20 PM ESTAustin Meek·Staff Writer, Michigan

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Moore was up to the task

It’s safe to say no acting head coach in college football history has had a day quite like Sherrone Moore’s. The Wolverines prepared during the week for the possibility that Jim Harbaugh would be suspended, but they woke up Saturday morning not knowing whether a judge would grant a temporary restraining order that would allow Harbaugh to coach.

A little more than an hour before kickoff, Michigan confirmed that it did not expect a ruling until a hearing next week. Moore, Michigan’s offensive coordinator, was officially the man in charge. With a dose of old-school Michigan football, Moore pushed the right buttons to lead the Wolverines to victory in a hostile environment.

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November 11, 2023 at 3:20 PM ESTAustin Meek·Staff Writer, Michigan

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Wolverines relied on run game as they struggled to protect J.J. McCarthy

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Michigan ran the ball 46 times, including its first 19 plays of the second half. That was a departure from the balanced offense Michigan has displayed all season, but it was the right move on a day when the Wolverines were struggling to protect quarterback J.J. McCarthy and Penn State was struggling to score.

Acting head coach Sherrone Moore’s willingness to run the ball on third down and neutralize Penn State’s pass rush was a significant factor in the game. The offense was more methodical than explosive, but a 44-yard run from Blake Corum and a 22-yard touchdown from Donovan Edwards were game-altering plays.

November 11, 2023 at 3:18 PM ESTAudrey Snyder·Staff Writer, Penn State

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What was with Penn State's offense

There will be plenty of second guessing for Penn State’s offensive coaching staff. No sequence will be more scrutinized than the Nittany Lions’ three-and-out early in the second quarter. Faced with first-and-10 at the Penn State 25, running back Kaytron Allen picked up nine yards. Allar then attempted a pass to reserve receiver Malik Meira that lost a yard. On third-and-2 Allar rushed up the middle for a gain of a yard before Penn State punted. Why they didn’t feed their bruising running back when needing a yard — or relying on their powerful T formation on second or third down — was a massive missed opportunity.

Later in the game Penn State attempted a flea flicker. Allar was flagged for intentional grounding. Wide receiver Dante Cephas was open as the play developed but Allar never saw him.

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The Athletic College Football

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Penn State makes it 24-15

Drew Allar connects with Theo Johnson for an 8-yard touchdown.

The Nittany Lions couldn't convert on the 2-point attempt.

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The Athletic College Football

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Blake Corum rushes 23 yards for a score

The Michigan RB has 131 yards and two touchdowns on the day.

November 11, 2023 at 2:28 PM ESTChris Vannini·Senior Writer, CFB

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McCarthy has thrown for 60 yards through three quarters

Michigan has run the ball 17 straight times. Can J.J. McCarthy pass the Wolverines to a victory in a big game? Will he need to?

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The Athletic College Football

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The Penn State-Michigan game garners the second-largest crowd ever at Beaver Stadium

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(Photo: Scott Taetsch / Getty Images)

A whopping 110,856 people are at Beaver Stadium for the game Saturday, per Penn State.

November 11, 2023 at 2:10 PM ESTCameron Teague Robinson·Staff Writer, CFB

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Penn State CB Johnny Dixon's underrated vision

Johnny Dixon just made an underrated play on that third-down run. If he doesn't recognize Donovan Edwards cutting outside the left tackle that's a walk in touchdown and Michigan is up two possessions. Instead he stopped following the receiver he was lined up on to force Edwards outside.

Even though he didn't get credited for the tackle his awareness there is keeping Penn State in this game, for now.

November 11, 2023 at 2:09 PM ESTChris Vannini·Senior Writer, CFB

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Sign-stealing celly?

Sure looks like it from Penn State DE Dani Dennis-Sutton.

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November 11, 2023 at 2:06 PM ESTAudrey Snyder·Staff Writer, Penn State

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Running down the clock, literally

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(Photo: Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images)

If it felt like that Michigan drive took forever it's because it did. Michigan after the Drew Allar fumble: 13 plays, 45 yards, 22-yard field goal. That took a whopping 8:04 off the clock. J.J. McCarthy's legs — especially on the fourth-down conversion — have really impressed me today.

Michigan up 17-9 with 3:36 left in the third quarter.

November 11, 2023 at 1:50 PM ESTAudrey Snyder·Staff Writer, Penn State

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Dimes incoming?

To keep in mind as the third quarter gets underway: This has been Penn State's money quarter all season. PSU is outscoring opponents 97-0 in the third quarter — but Michigan has also bene tremendous in the third quarter, outscoring opponents 114-0.

November 11, 2023 at 1:40 PM ESTDan Santaromita·Senior Editor, Sports Betting

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Betting lines stay relatively the same after first half

The first half between Penn State and Michigan didn't move the betting lines much. Michigan is a 5.5-point favorite in the live odds at BetMGM after being a 4.5-point favorite before the game. The point total also barely moved, dropping a point to 44.5 from 45.5. That is to say this is going more or less as the sportsbooks expected. (edited)

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Michigan-Penn State live updates (2024)
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