No. 18 Michigan vs. Penn State: Nittany Lions win wildest Big Ten game of the year

Justin K. Aller

A four-OT thriller eventually tips to the home team as Penn State gets its first Big Ten victory of the year.

A furious late rally by the Penn State Nittany Lions — and a little bit of luck — led to a 43-40, four-overtime victory over the No. 18 Michigan Wolverines under the lights of Happy Valley.

The game went to four extra frames, but it nearly didn't go to one. After a Michigan punt from the fringes of field goal range, Penn State was down to the last minute of regulation, down a points at 34-27 and on its own 20 with no timeouts. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg drove his team down the field quickly, hooking up with an extending Allen Robinson for this beautiful, clutch catch to get Penn State down to the 1-yard line.


GIFs via ESPN.

Penn State scored on the very next play, and while Michigan had its own miniature rally of its own to the PSU 35, the game went to overtime.

There, a pair of fruitless possessions pushed the game to a second overtime, and a pair of field goals sent it to a third — also a scoreless affair. The fourth overtime saw a Brendan Gibbons field goal fly true, but Penn State coach Bill O'Brien decided this one wasn't going to a fifth overtime. Penn State converted a 4th and 1 on its overtime possession, then got a pass interference call on the next third down to put the ball at the 2.

Belton scored on the very next snap, and from there, jubilation, and a great crowd shot:


Box Score Hero: Devin Gardner overcame a sloppy first half to finish with 240 yards passing with three touchdowns and 121 more yards on the ground. His offense stalled out in overtime, but that was as much due to ludicrously conservative play-calling by the Michigan staff as anything else.

Rankings Ramifications: Michigan's record is finally catching up with its road struggles, and a dip out of the Top 25 would not be a surprise. Penn State, meanwhile, wasn't receiving any votes coming into the game but is now 4-2 and may get on a few pollsters' radars. Don't count on a Top 25 spot this quickly, though.

But Did They Cover? Michigan was a two-point favorite coming into the game, so if you're a Penn State fan who put money on your team, congratulations! Also, why gamble? Why can't you just be happy for your team?

For More On This Game: For more on Nittany Lions football, visit Penn State community Black Shoe Diaries. For more on Wolverines football, visit Michigan community Maize 'n' Brew. For more coverage from around the B1G, visit Big Ten community Off Tackle Empire.

Next Week's Schedule: Michigan hosts Indiana next week, and Penn State faces Ohio State in Columbus.

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