ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan football team improved to 5-1 and 2-0 in the Big Ten Conference with a 27-24 overtime victory over No. 15 Penn State on Saturday (Oct. 12) in front of the fifth-largest crowd in Michigan Stadium history. Junior running back Chris Perry (Advance, N.C./Fork Union Military Academy, Va.) gave the Wolverines their second overtime win in as many attempts with his three-yard touchdown rush to cap off Michigan's overtime possession.
After regulation ended 21-21, Michigan won the toss and elected to being the extra period on defense. Penn State tailback Larry Johnson caught a 16-yard shovel pass on the second play of overtime to move PSU to the 10-yard line. After a short rush play, Cato June (Washington D.C./Anacostia HS) nearly made an interception on the goal line. Marlin Jackson's (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS) first pass breakup of the game, inside the end zone, forced the Nittany Lions to attempt a field goal. A Michigan offsides penalty gave PSU a second chance to make a field goal after Gould missed on his first try. The second kick, from 20 yards, was good and gave PSU a 24-21 lead.
Three plays into Michigan's first overtime possession in its first overtime game at Michigan Stadium, Edwards and Perry combined to earn the Wolverines a first down. The Nittany Lions ushered Michigan to the three-yard line with an offsides call, where on third-and-one Navarre handed the ball to Perry. Perry broke through the left tackle and into the end zone to give Michigan the 27-24 win and set off a wild celebration on the field.
The game started on a somber note for the Wolverines as Michigan players Ernest Shazor (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King HS) and Zia Combs (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) collided attempting to pin Penn State at its one-yard line after Michigan was forced to punt on its first possession. Neither player could stop the ball before it crossed the goal line, and Combs was forced to leave the game after taking the brunt of Shazor's momentum in the impact.
The Nittany Lions capitalized on the field position as a draw play to Larry Johnson went for a 17-yard touchdown and the early 7-0 lead. However, Michigan came back to tie the game at seven late in the second quarter on a 10-play, 58-yard drive. The Wolverines utilized their backs as both Perry and B.J. Askew (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain HS) ate up yardage before Navarre scored his first career rushing touchdown on a one-yard dive over center at 2:52.
Michigan's first possession of the second half yielded the ball to Penn State on its own 30-yard line. PSU worked the ball downfield to the opposing 30-yard line by relying on the running of Larry Johnson. PSU could not take the lead, however, as Gould missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
Penn State's offense was ignited with two big plays on its next drive. A third-and-10 pass play went for 21 yards to Gerald Smith before Mills found Bryant Johnson along the left sideline for a 53-yard strike. The Nittany Lions scored two plays later on a pass to Mike Lukac. Penn State led 13-7 after it missed the PAT.
Michigan responded when it got the ball back, moving 80 yards in 11 plays. The drive took flight when PSU was penalized for a roughing-the-kicker penalty to give U-M a first down in its own side of the field. Ronald Bellamy (New Orleans, La./Archbishop Shaw HS) made two clutch receptions, including a pass over the middle on third-and-10 deep in Penn State territory. Navarre hooked up with Edwards on a jump ball in the left side of the end zone to tie the game. Troy Nienberg's (Glandorf, Ohio/Ottawa Glandorf HS) extra point gave the Maize and Blue a 14-13 lead.
Penn State promptly marched into Michigan territory with the help of two third-down conversions. The Nittany Lions regained the lead, 21-14, on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson and a successful two-point conversion.
Edwards made sure Michigan did not trail for long, as he secured the tying touchdown and a made a vital first-down grab to sustain the 64-yard Wolverine drive. Surveying the field on third-and-goal, Navarre found Edwards in the center of the end zone for the receiver's second TD catch. Nienberg hit the extra point to tie the game at 21 with 3:24 remaining.
Inside of two minutes remaining, Michigan limited PSU to only a 28-yard reception for Bryan Johnson, forcing the Nittany Lions to punt with just 42 seconds left on the clock. Michigan downed the ball to run out the clock and force the overtime session.
Michigan (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) will put its perfect Big Ten record on the line next Saturday (Oct. 19) at Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. Game time is set for 11:05 a.m. EST/CDT (12:05 p.m. EDT), and ESPN will televise the contest.
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423