Fifth-ranked Wolver­ines are too much for No. 14 Nit­tany Lions


The Washington Post Sunday - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - BY LARRY LAGE

ann arbor, mich. — Shea Pat­ter­son ac­counted for three touch­downs and Michi­gan put to­gether a dom­i­nant per­for­mance on de­fense in a 42-7 vic­tory over Penn State on Satur­day.

The Wolver­ines (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 5 Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings) moved a step closer to­ward their goals of win­ning a con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship for the first time since 2004 and earn­ing their first spot in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

The No. 14 Nit­tany Lions (6-3, 3-3) scored with 1:59 left, avoid­ing get­ting shut out for the first time since 2001 against Michi­gan.

Karan Hig­don ran for 132 yards and a score that put the Wolver­ines up 35-0 early in the fourth quar­ter.

Michi­gan’s de­fense held Penn State to 186 yards and forced three turnovers, in­clud­ing Tommy Stevens’s in­ter­cep­tion that was re­turned 62 yards by Bran­don Wat­son for its sec­ond score in the fi­nal minute of the third quar­ter.

The Nit­tany Lions started banged-up quar­ter­back Trace Mc­Sor­ley, and he was 5 for 13 for 83 yards with an in­ter­cep­tion and a fum­ble. Mc­Sor­ley hurt his right knee in last week’s loss to Iowa. He shared time with Stevens, who was 3 for 4 for 35 yards. Stevens scored on an eight-yard run late in the game.

Pat­ter­son was 11 for 17 for 144 yards with two touch­down passes, a 23-yard throw to Dono­van Peo­ples-Jones in the sec­ond quar­ter and a seven-yard strike to Zach Gen­try. He ran 11 times, of­ten on read-op­tion plays, for 42 yards, in­clud­ing a one-yard touch­down mid­way through the first quar­ter.

Penn State Coach James Franklin, in his fifth sea­son, will be chal­lenged to pro­vide an up­beat outlook about the state of his pro­gram af­ter los­ing for the third time in five games and get­ting routed as a ranked team.

Michi­gan Coach Jim Har­baugh’s fourth team is po­si­tioned to have a spe­cial sea­son. The Wolver­ines have a pair of tune­ups at Rut­gers and against In­di­ana to get ready to close the reg­u­lar sea­son at No. 10 Ohio State.

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