Penn State travels to Michigan Saturday for 7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2

October 10, 2014

Following the first of two bye weeks in 2014, Penn State heads to Michigan for its second Big Ten road contest of the season on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Michigan Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Jessica Mendoza calling the contest.

Penn State has posted on-field victories in four straight meetings, but Michigan holds a 10-7 edge in the all-time series. This will mark the third straight night game in the series, while also marking the first Big Ten home night game and just the third overall in Michigan Stadium history.

Sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten and the NCAA. He ranks second in the conference with 295.4 passing yards, 22.6 completions and 302.2 yards of total offense per game.

Freshman WR DaeSean Hamilton is one of only two freshman receivers in the NCAA to average 100-plus yards per game (100.4) and leads the conference with 502 receiving yards and 7.2 receptions per game. Along with Eugene Lewis, the duo is the only teammates to ranks among the top-25 in the NCAA in receiving yards per game.

Senior LB Mike Hull piled up a career-high 16 tackles (nine solo) against Northwestern and ranks No. 1 in the conference and 21st nationally with 10.6 stops per game.

Michigan's defense is filled with playmakers, as Joe Bolden (48 tkls) and Jake Ryan (46 tkls) are among the top-15 tacklers in the Big Ten. Along with Jourdan Lewis (22 tkls) and Frank Clark (20 tkls), the quartet has accounted for 15 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks through five games. As a unit, they rank sixth in the conference in total defense, allowing just 315.5 yards per game.

The offense is averaging 354.0 yards per game and is the Big Ten's's only unit to convert on all of their red zone chances, going 15-for-15 with 13 touchdowns and two field goals. QB Devin Gardner leads the team with 1,042 yards of total offense in six games (173.7 ypg), including 131 rushing yards and three scores. He has thrown all five of Michigan's touchdown passes, with Devin Funchess hauling in three of those. Funchess leads the team with 392 yards on 29 receptions this season.

Two Point Conversion
3 - The freshman record of 100-yard receiving games by WR DaeSean Hamilton so far in 2014.

288.8 - Yards per game allowed by the Penn State defense, which ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 9 nationally.

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Brady Hoke owns a 28-17 record in his third season as the 19th head coach at Michigan. He has a 75-67 overall mark in his 12th season as a head coach.

An assistant coach at Michigan from 1995-2002, Hoke coached against Penn State from 1995-2000. He guided the Wolverines to an 11-2 record and the Allstate Sugar Bowl in his first season. Hoke was the head coach at Ball State, his alma mater, from 2003-08 and was the head coach at San Diego State from 2009-10.

Scouting the Wolverines
Michigan is the only team in the Big Ten and one of just five NCAA FBS programs to score on every trip into the red zone this season.

The maize and blue are 15-of-15 with 13 touchdowns and two field goals. Ten of those 13 scores have come on the ground, with Devin Gardner and Derrick Green each accounting for three and De'Veon Smith cashing in four scores on the ground.

Gardner leads the team with 173.7 yards of total offense per game, with 151.8 yards passing and 21.8 yards rushing per game. He has three rushing scores and five passing touchdowns in six games this season.

Wide receiver Devin Funchess has caught three of Gardner's five scoring strikes and averages 78.4 yards per game through the air. Funchess ranks eighth in the Big Ten in yards per game and is tied for third in the conference with 5.8 receptions per game.

Linebackers Joe Bolden and Jake Ryan each rank among the top-15 in the conference in tackles per game, with 8.0 and 7.7, respectively.

Clark leads the team with 6.5 tackles-for-loss, while Ryan has logged 6.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

As a unit, the Wolverines are No. 4 in the Big Ten and No. 12 nationally with just 100.3 yards per game allowed. Their 315.5 yards allowed per game rank No. 6 in the conference and No. 19 in the NCAA this season.

Last Game: Michigan 24, at Rutgers 26
Michigan had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter at Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights blocked a Wolverine field goal attempt with 3:01 left in the game to help preserve their 26-24 victory at home.

The two teams exchanged the lead multiple times in the first half, with Michigan opening the scoring on a Matt Wile field goal before Rutgers' Kyle Federico made a pair of field goals to push his team ahead, 6-3, after one quarter.

Each team registered two touchdown drives in the second quarter, with UM's Devin Gardner and De'Veon Smith scoring on the ground and RU's Gary Nova throwing a pair of TD passes.

Nova found Andrew Turzilli on an 80-yard strike midway through the second quarter and connected with John Tsimis for a seven-yard score with just 22 seconds left to give the Knights a 19-17 lead heading into halftime.

A scoreless third quarter set up an exciting fourth quarter. Nova again connected with Turzilli for a score - this time a 14-yard completion.

Michigan's Gardner scampered for his second score of the game, a 19-yard jaunt, with 9:17 left in the contest to pull the Wolverines within two points, 26-24.

Gardner then led UM into field goal range, but Wile's 56-yard attempt was blocked and the Scarlet Knights were able to run out the clock.

Nittany Lions from Michigan

Last Meeting: at Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (4OT); Oct. 12, 2013 - Beaver Stadium
Penn State rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes to force overtime, and defeated No. 18 Michigan, 43-40, in four overtimes - the longest game in the Big Ten Conference's 119-year history.

With 10:28 left in the fourth quarter, Michigan extended its lead, 34-24, after Devin Gardner found Devin Funchness for a 37-yard touchdown.

Penn State made it a one-possession game with 6:35 left in the contest. After marching down the field, Ficken capped off a 12-play, 49-yard drive with a 43-yard field goal to cut the Michigan advantage to 34-27.

After Michigan was forced the punt on its next possession, Penn State needed to travel 80 yards with no timeouts remaining in just 50 seconds.

Christian Hackenberg found Allen Robinson and Brandon Felder for 14 and 29 yards, respectively before hooking up with Robinson again for 36 yards, bringing the Nittany Lions down to the one-yard line. On the next play, Hackenberg powered his way for the touchdown.

With time winding down, the Wolverines quickly moved down the field, setting up a 52-yard field-goal attempt that fell short.

A drama-filled overtime ensued, beginning with a missed Penn State field-goal attempt. Gibbons once again had a chance to win the game for the Wolverines, but his 40-yard attempt was blocked by Kyle Baublitz.

The teams exchanged a pair of successful field goals in the second overtime period to make it a 37-37 game. In the third overtime, Penn State fumbled the ball on its possession, but Michigan was unable to capitalize as a 33-yard field-goal try sailed left.

The Wolverines began the fourth overtime with a successful 40-yard try, but Bill Belton bounced outside to the left side and a block from Pat Zerbe paved his way to the end zone abd capped the comeback and accounted for the thrilling 43-40 final.

Hackenberg Among NCAA Best in Crunch Time
Penn State sophomore signal caller Christian Hackenberg has been calm under pressure during his career at Penn State and ranks tied for sixth in the NCAA in game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.

  • The go-ahead score with 1:13 left at Rutgers was the fourth game-winning or game-tying drive in the fourth quarter in his career.
  • He led game-tying drives vs. Illinois and Michigan in 2013 in regulation, winning both games in overtime.
  • He also led a game-winning drive with vs. UCF in the final 1:13 in the 2014 season opener in Dublin.
  • Hackenberg is 7-for-10 for 131 yards passing on his two game winning drives this season. He was 4-of-6 for 47 yards vs. UCF and 3-of-4 for 84 yards at Rutgers.
  • The complete list of NCAA game winning drive leaders is below. (Compiled by Navy Sports Information Department)

No. - Name (School)
1. 7 - Pete Thomas (Col. St./NC State/ULM)
2. 6 - Quinn Kaheler (San Diego St.)
6 - Braxton Miller (Ohio State)
4. 5 - Keenan Reynolds (Navy)
5 - Shane Carden (East Carolina)
6. 4 - Garrett Grayson (Colorado State)
4 - Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)
4 - Bo Wallace (Ole Miss)
9. 3 - Brandon Connette (Duke/Fresno State)
3 - Terrel Hunt (Syracuse)
3 - Taylor Kelly (Arizona State)
3 - Sean Mannion (Oregon State)
3 - Nick Marshall (Auburn)
3 - Connor Cook (Michigan State)
3 - Jake Rudock (Iowa)

Storied Programs Meet on Gridiron
Penn State and Michigan are among the nation's premier football programs:

  • Penn State and Michigan both rank among the top-12 programs in winning percentage and total victories in NCAA history.
  • Four of the top-12 winningest programs in NCAA history are from the Big Ten.
  • Penn State sits No. 12 in both winning percentage (.658) and all-time victories (734).
  • Michigan owns an NCAA-best 912 victories and ranks No. 2 in all-time winning percentage at .730.
  • The Nittany Lions and Wolverines are also among the most ranked teams in NCAA history according to the AP poll.
  • Michigan has spent 32 weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll (11th all-time) and Penn State has earned the No. 1 ranking by the AP on 19 occasions (16th all-time). (Not including preseason rankings)
  • Penn State's 589 weeks ranked among the AP Top-25 rank ninth all-time, while Michigan's 789 weeks rank second.

AP Poll statistics are since 1936

Penn State-Michigan Connections

  • Penn State has three players from the state of Michigan and Michigan has two players from the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Penn State senior DE Brad Bars will face off with his brother, Michigan sophomore OL Blake Bars on Saturday in Ann Arbor.
  • Penn State sophomore G Brian Gala and Michigan's redshirt freshman DT Henry Poggi played on the defensive line together at The Gilman School (Md.).
  • Penn State sophomore WR Gregg Garrity and Michigan redshirt freshman OL Patrick Kugler were classmates at North Allegheny (Pa.) High School.

Lions Under the Lights
Penn State will play it's second of three scheduled night games at Michigan on Saturday.

  • Penn State will play also play Ohio State at 8 p.m. on Oct. 25 at Beaver Stadium, marking the teams' sixth primetime clash since 2005, with Penn State winning twice.
  • After Saturday, the Nittany Lions will have played two road night games for the first time since 2008 when they won at Wisconsin and at Ohio State.
  • On Oct. 12, 2012 the Nittany Lions claimed the longest game in Big Ten history when they edged Michigan under the lights, 43-40, in front of a sellout Beaver Stadium crowd of 107,844 on Homecoming.
  • This year marks the seventh time since 2000 that Penn State will play multiple night games in the same season. Along with road games at Rutgers and Michigan, they also host Ohio State in a game that already has a kick time in the evening.
  • Penn State has played at least one regular season night game in 15 consecutive seasons.
  • Penn State has a 40-26 on-field record in night games, going 9-9 at home, 20-10 on the road, 1-1 at regular season neutral sites and 10-6 in bowl games.
  • The Lions' night games over the past 15 seasons include: Ohio State, Michigan and Rutgers (2014); Ohio State, Michigan and UCF (2013); Iowa and Ohio State (2012); Northwestern (2011); Alabama, Iowa and Michigan (2010); Iowa (2009); Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State (2008); Notre Dame, Ohio State and Texas A&M (2007), Michigan (2006), Illinois, Ohio State and Florida State (2005), Minnesota and Boston College (2004), Nebraska (2002 and `03), Miami (Fla.) (2001) and Indiana (2000).

Overtime Over Time
College football introduced overtime during the bowl season in 1995 and adopted the system for regular season games in 1996.

  • Since then, Penn State has played nine overtime games, including four over the past three seasons.
  • Six of the nine overtime tilts have come at home, two in true road games and one in the 2006 Orange Bowl.
  • Their first two overtime contests came vs. Iowa in 2000 and 2002 at home.
  • Four of their last six home Big Ten games have gone into overtime.
  • The Nittany Lions dropped their first three contests that went to the extra period, but won five straight overtime contests before falling to Nebraska on Nov. 23, 2013.
  • Penn State's all-time overtime games:

Date - Opponent - Score
11/4/00 - Iowa (2OT) - L, 23-26
9/28/02 - Iowa - L, 35-42
10/12/02 - at Michigan - L, 24-27
1/3/06 - vs. Florida State (3OT) ^ - W, 26-23
10/7/06 - at Minnesota - W, 28-27
11/24/12 - Wisconsin - W, 24-21
10/12/13 - Michigan (4OT) - W, 43-40
11/2/13 - Illinois - W, 24-17
11/23/13 - Nebraska - L, 20-23
^ - Orange Bowl

Hamilton Climbing to the Top of Freshman Receiving Charts
Redshirt freshman wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton made an immediate impact in his first collegiate game vs. UCF and has continued his assault on the freshman receiving records as enter the heart of the Big Ten schedule.
Records Watch on Page 22.

  • Through five games, Hamilton has 36 catches for 502 yards.
  • Hamilton set the freshman single game record in Dublin, Ireland vs. UCF. He caught 11 passes for 165 yards, moving past Deon Butler's 125-yard effort vs. Wisconsin in 2005 and Maurice Humphrey's eight catch game against Northwestern in 2003.
  • Hamilton became the first Nittany Lion freshman wideout to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a game - doing so in the first half - since Butler and Jordan Norwood both accomplished the feat in 2005.
  • Hamilton's three 100-yard receiving games are the most by a freshman in school history. Butler had two during his redshirt rookie season in 2005.
  • He is just the fifth freshman to post a 100-yard receiving game; joining Butler (2005, R-Fr.), Jimmy Cefalo (1974, Fr.), Humphrey (2003. Fr.) and Norwood (2005, Fr.).
  • He is just one catch shy of the rookie record for receptions in a season (37) and 189 yards away from the yardage record (691), both held by Butler (2005).

Following a Bye Week
Penn State has a 15-11 on-field record after a bye week since starting Big Ten competition in 1993.

  • The Nittany Lions fell at Indiana on Oct. 5 and at No. 4 Ohio State on Oct. 26 during the 2013 season.
  • The Nittany Lions had two bye weeks in 2013 and are coming off their first of two bye weeks in 2014.
  • The Nittany Lions won at Iowa in 2012 following their only bye week during that season.
  • Penn State has played on the road following a bye six out of the last seven times dating back to 2005.
  • Penn State will play Ohio State following their second bye of 2014 on Oct. 25 at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State vs. Big Ten
Penn State owns a 187-89-3 on-field mark against Big Ten Conference teams since the Nittany Lions first opposed Ohio State in 1912.

The Nittany Lions began play as a member of the Big Ten Conference in 1993 and have a 108-64 on-field mark in their 22nd conference season.

Prior to joining the conference, Penn State played 107 games vs. the current Big Ten alignment and was 79-25-3 in those games.

Maryland and Rutgers joined the Big Ten on July 1, 2014.

Opponent: Record (1st Meeting)
Illinois: 17-4 (1954)
Indiana: 16-1 (1993)
Iowa: 13-12 (1930)
Maryland: 35-1-1 (1917)
Michigan: 7-10 (1993)
Michigan State: 14-13-1 (1914)
Minnesota: 8-5 (1993)
Nebraska: 7-9 (1920)
Northwestern: 13-4 (1993)
Ohio State: 13-16 (1912)
Purdue: 13-3-1 (1951)
Rutgers: 23-2 (1918)
Wisconsin: 8-9 (1953)

Last Updated October 10, 2014