ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Planning Michigan’s rushing offense is hard enough when it comes to finding ways to contain Blake Corum. Adding Donovan Edwards to the equation introduces another set of skills to the dynamic.
Corum and Edwards had 339 rushing yards and four touchdowns as the No. 5 Michigan beat No. 10 Penn State 41-17 in front of 110,812 at Michigan Stadium on Saturday.
Michigan rushed for 418 yards in the win.
“We didn’t control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “Offensively we weren’t able to run the ball or convert in short-range situations and stay on the pitch, but defensively we couldn’t get off the pitch. Fifteen-play drives, 12-play drives, 16-play drives, they controlled the line of scrimmage and they controlled the game.”
Michigan (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) led 24-17 early in the third quarter before the Nittany Lions offense settled in with first-and-10 from their 25-yard line.
Penn State (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) advanced to Michigan’s 39-yard line before facing fourth and sixth. The fourth attempt fell through after a pass from quarterback Sean Clifford to wide receiver Parker Washington went incomplete.
A play later, Corum rushed for 61 yards for a touchdown that helped Michigan beat Penn State, 25-3, in the second half.
Corum posted 166 rushing yards in the fourth straight game in which he rushed for 100 or more yards. He has increased his production this season to 901 yards and 13 touchdowns. Corum scored the first touchdown of the game with a 1-yard run in the first quarter.
Edwards recorded 173 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to provide the perfect complement for Corum. Saturday’s rushing total marked a career high for Edwards, who averaged 10.5 yards per carry. His 67-yard touchdown in the third quarter gave the Wolverines a lead they wouldn’t give up.
“We knew what we were getting into,” Penn State linebacker Jonathan Sutherland said of the Michigan running backs. “We knew what kind of match it was going to be. (They are) obviously very talented. (They) know how to gain yards after contact.
Michigan led the possession time battle with a 41:56 advantage at 18:04.
“It definitely makes it harder, but you have to be built for it, no matter what they do, how many plays they run, you have to go out there and do your job,” the defensive tackle said. Penn State, PJ Mustipher. “If we didn’t want them to run so many plays, we should have gotten saves, and we didn’t.”
Penn State’s offense got confused during a first quarter that foreshadowed the afternoon for the unit. The Nittany Lions failed to get a first down in the first 15 minutes, and they only ran six plays in the quarter.
Penn State had 9 yards on offense in the second quarter before Clifford rushed 61 yards to the Wolverines 4-yard line with about seven minutes left in the half. Running back Kaytron Allen gave the Nittany Lions their first touchdown of the game four plays later on a 1-yard run on fourth down. Penn State entered halftime with only one first down.
Clifford left the game with 11 minutes left in the fourth. Franklin later said it was because of an injury. Freshman Drew Allar played the entire duration of the contest.
The Nittany Lions defense provided the team’s only other touchdown of the afternoon. Michigan faced third and second from the Penn State 41-yard line when linebacker Curtis Jacobs intercepted a pass attempt from Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy. Demeioun “Chop” Robinson deflected the ball, and it landed with Jacobs after bouncing off Mustipher’s helmet. Jacobs returned the interception 47 yards for the score with 4:27 left in the first half.
Penn State kicker Jake Pinegar kicked for 27 yards in the third quarter.
Michigan finished with the advantage in just about every statistical category.
The Wolverines beat the Nittany Lions 563-268. Michigan won 28 first downs to Penn State’s 10. Michigan was also 6 of 6 in attempts from the red zone. Kicker Jake Moody connected on field goals of 29, 24, 23 and 37 yards.
“When you’re not able to control the line of scrimmage like you have to control the line of scrimmage, you’re going to struggle to win games, and they’re able to stick to a game plan, to stick to what they do,” Franklin said.
Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium next week to face Minnesota (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) for this year’s white contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (ABC).
“You get a tough loss, you learn from it,” Franklin said. “You make the adjustments, you make the corrections and you go back to doing what you need to do to be 1-0 next week. This game cannot linger.