Penn State beats MI, 42-13

Lions-Wolverines get set for a big night in Happy Valley

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley catches the bobbled football for a 42-yard touchdown against MI on Saturday.

The Nittany Lions boast an elite defense, one that is allowing just nine points per game, which leads the Big Ten. Quarterback John O'Korn has to take care of the ball as Heisman hopeful running back Saquon Barkley can not be given extra opportunities to touch the football.

Saquon Barkley's Heisman Trophy candidacy took an impressive step Saturday as the star junior led No. 2-ranked Penn State to a 42-13 home win over rival MI.

MI football is going to have its hands full with second-ranked Penn State. The Wolverines had three cracks at the end zone from the Penn State 1, and after 265-pound Khalid Hill was stopped on the first two plays, Karon Higdon took a pitch left and scored on fourth down. MI had not allowed more than 278 yards of offense all season, and Penn State had 300 yards at halftime and 506 yards at the end of the game. Barkley is the Heisman Trophy front runner, but that's an always-fluid, week-to-week discussion. After a three-touchdown night with 108 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards against a defense that had held four opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards this season, Barkley answered his first real Heisman test to get a pivotal make-or-break stretch off on the rght foot. With 10:11 still to play in the first quarter, Penn State had a 14-0 lead.

The glow of No. 2 Penn State's 42-13 win over MI is still hanging over Happy Valley, Nittany Lions fans could not even wait until the end of the game to demand more. Barkley's big game was notable, but McSorley's performance was the key. But as we learned from past year, the loser of next week's tilt may not be removed from the playoff picture right away with so many games left to play. A third straight third-place finish in the Big Ten East is questionable. But the Buckeyes will not be easy to get by on the road. The last time a MI defense allowed at least 42 points was November 28, 2015, against Ohio State.

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