Epic Michigan vs Penn State Battle Could be 2013 Game of the Year
The mighty Michigan Wolverines have been climbing the ranks of the oh-so-important AP Poll and have even entertained dreams of tossing their hat into the BCS Bowl picture. These hopes were thrown a curveball this past Saturday in Happy Valley as the Penn State Nittany Lions figured out a way to prevail 43 – 40 in a game that featured four overtimes and all sorts of memories that were immediately etched into the minds of fans of both talented programs.
Michigan only had one legitimate scare on their schedule to this point while racking up a 5 – 0 record that included a victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. A road game at Penn State is no walk in the park, especially when the gigantic fan base and all ticket holders collaborate to create a “White Out.” This occurs when everybody in the stadium agrees to wear a white T-shirt, and several thousand fans ramped it up a level by also donning white pants or a white hat. The result was an environment that was quite intimidating to a Michigan Wolverines team that is one of the most galvanized in the nation when it comes to playing in bitter environments.
Michigan scored 10 points in the first quarter but ended up going into halftime trailing 21 – 10. 17 third-quarter points put them back in the driver’s seat before the teams exchanged punches in the fourth quarter and ended up going into overtime tied at 34. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg continued to perform impressively considering he is a true freshman, and he ended up passing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Wolverines wide receiver Devon Funchess is a fan favorite, and for good reason. He once again put together an astounding performance highlighted by two touchdowns in just four receptions for 112 yards. The 28-yard-per-catch average is an unprecedented total that immediately gained him entry into the Michigan football history books.
The home crowd was noticeably weary that Michigan could win in overtime and waltz back to Ann Arbor with a huge road win. The teams exchanged defensive jabs while holding the opposing offenses scoreless throughout the first frame. Each offense managed only a field goal in the second overtime, and the game officially entered the phase where both teams were forced to go for two-point conversions following touchdowns.
Amazingly, neither team scored in the third overtime period, prompting a fourth overtime that came on the heels of six consecutive possessions that began from only 25 yards away from the goal line but did not result in any touchdowns. After Michigan put a field goal on the board and felt good about their chances to win a three-point game, Penn State finally marched the ball down to the goal line before Bill Belton –who carried the ball only two times throughout the entire matchup to this point – scored from 2 yards out to give Penn State a well-earned and very memorable 43 – 40 victory.