Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wolverines Dig in, Dump Penn State

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wolverines Dig in, Dump Penn State

Article excerpt

Michigan, the Big Ten's longtime bully, withstood a challenge from the new kid on the block Saturday.

The 18th-ranked Wolverines used a sturdy goal-line stand, a 48-yard punt return for a touchdown by Derrick Alexander and a 192-yard rushing performance by Tyrone Wheatley to beat No. 7 Penn State 21-13 before a record crowd of 96,719 at Beaver Stadium.

Michigan (4-2, 2-1 in the Big Ten) kept alive its bid for a sixth successive league title by handing new member Penn State (5-1, 2-1) its first loss of the season. It was the first meeting between the two traditional powers and the 1,000th game in Penn State history.

"We wanted to welcome Penn State to the Big Ten in a Big Ten fashion, and I think we did that today," Michigan center Marc Milia said.

The Wolverines said they resented all the attention Penn State was getting in its first season in the Big Ten, which the Lions joined after 106 years as an independent.

"You just have to pay your dues. Just like a freshman, you can't come in bragging and boasting," said Wheatley, who carried 32 times and became the first runner to gain more than 100 yards against Penn State this season.

Penn State had an extra week to prepare for Michigan, getting last week off after beating Maryland 70-7 on Oct. 2. But after Michigan took a 14-10 lead in the third quarter on a diving, 16-yard TD catch by Mercury Hayes, the Lions couldn't catch up.

Wheatley, held to 33 yards last week in a loss to Michigan State, had the seventh-highest rushing total ever against Penn State. And Alexander gave the Wolverines a boost with his third career punt return TD, which cut Penn State's lead to 10-7 in the second quarter.

However, Michigan got an even larger lift from its much maligned defense, which stopped PSU four times from the Michigan 1 to preserve a 14-10 lead in the second half.

Michigan tried two quarterback sneaks and two runs by Ki-Jana Carter, but couldn't gain an inch. On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Carter was stopped on fourth down by Jarrett Irons and Shonte Peoples. …

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