Penn State gets the upset against Michigan in a four overtime affair that ended in a Nittany Lion 43-40 triumph. Despite the victory on the official scorecard, everyone lost this game.
It was yet another close game for the Wolverines. The best team on the field was definitely the Nittany Lions. It just took a shift in coaching and the ability to play a clean game in the end.
The Nittany Lions played not to lose until the end
It wasn't until the Nittany Lions finally went for it on a 4th-and-1 and converted it in the final overtime period at the Michigan that they really took control of the game and won it. Had they just kicked it again, the cycle of playing not to lose would have continued. And it's a horrible cycle to be in.
Penn State Head Coach Bill O'Brien was either too tired for the game to continue on, or he just finally decided that he wanted his team to win. So the Nittany Lions came away with it after they finally manned up and went for that fourth down conversion in the fourth overtime period.
Conservative play calls and the strategy of "stop them, then set up a field goal" just didn't work. Trusting in a freshman quarterback to get a fourth-down conversion isn't always the best idea, but it takes a bit of crazy to win a game.
Luckily for O'Brien and the Nittany Lions, Christian Hackenberg has nerves of steel. And because of it, the Nittany Lions are now 4-2 and looking like a team who will have a bright future at the top of the Big Ten when their sanctions are finally lifted.
But they were a loser due to the fact it took them at least three full overtimes to get out of their own way and win the game. Thankfully, Penn State was able to end the bleeding on the final drive of the game.
After missing a field goal and fumbling away an opportunity in the first and third overtimes, it was refreshing to see their offense finally click. However, O’Brien should have realized that his offense needed to make the gutsy decision earlier in the game.
If they would have done that, they could have clicked quicker, and the Nittany Lions wouldn’t have even needed overtime.
Procedural Errors and Sloppy Football Mar This Big Ten Showdown for the Wolverines
Players falling over their own feet. Receivers dropping catches that hit them in the hands.
Field goals blocked, missed short and missed wide. Delay of game calls throughout.
This game was sloppy football at best and one giant procedural error at worst.
No one likes to watch ugly football.
But the sloppiness needs to be corrected by the Wolverines heading into their next game.
Michigan had multiple embarrassingly missed field goals, topped off by random drops in crucial third down situations. Michigan will not win their division if they continue to fail at the fundamentals.
Their sloppy play is nothing new either. They looked just as bad against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Akron Zips. When the Wolverines can finally put it all together, the Big Ten will be a much more competitive conference and have a legitimate contender outside of Ohio State.
But the ugly football needs to stop. If they can’t figure out how to pretty up their game, the Wolverines aren’t just going to lose to Penn State and have close calls against Ohio State.
They’ll be lucky to finish with more than eight wins.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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