Michigan Wolverines at Penn State Nittany Lions

Michigan Wolverines at Penn State Nittany Lions

Before Michigan football started its season, the Penn State game was one that was circled.

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. Barkley followed with a 15-yard touchdown, and within five minutes, the Lions had scored more points than they did in the 2016 MI game.

McSorley added three touchdown runs and led an offense that gained 506 yards against the No. 1-ranked defense of the Wolverines (5-2, 2-2), who came into the game averaging 223.8 yards allowed. If Barkley can be the star in Columbus and again when Penn State travels to Michigan State on Nov. 4, then he will clinch the Heisman before November is even over. McSorley scored on a 3-yard run to give the Nittany Lions a 21-13 lead at halftime.

No. 2 Penn State quieted critics of its schedule and made amends for a blowout loss a year ago at MI, thumping the No. 19 Wolverines 42-13 Saturday night before a frenzied record crowd of 110,823 at Beaver Stadium. There might not be a playoff appearance at all for the Nittany Lions without a win in Columbus, Ohio, next Saturday afternoon. Barkley later put the score out of reach with a juggling 42-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter. Barkley is the Heisman Trophy front runner, but that's an always-fluid, week-to-week discussion.

Barkley was the catalyst of an electrifying opening five minutes for Penn State.

And now we advance to what could be the game of the year in the Big Ten, with no disrespect meant to the fine folks in Madison, Wisconsin.

McSorley had the Nittany Lions in position for a third touchdown but had a pass intercepted by David Long, who set up Michigan's first TD drive.

In the end, Moorehead and Penn State's offense got the checkmate against Brown and his MI defense.

The loss is going to turn up the heat on Harbaugh now that the Wolverines appear to be out of the running in the Big Ten East race with five games to play in the regular season. 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.

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