Michigan vs. Penn State score: Wolverines dominate Nittany Lions without Jim Harbaugh

by 24USATVNov. 12, 2023, 2:01 a.m. 22

Stout defense and a continuous rushing attack was enough for the Jim Harbaugh-less Michigan Wolverines, as they knocked off Penn State 24-15 in a Big Ten clash to remain undefeated and stay in the College Football Playoff picture.

No. 9 Penn State (8-2, 5-2) entered the day with the nation’s best rushing defense, allowing only 60.6 yards a game. But the Michigan running game, led by the duo of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, gashed the Nittany Lions defense for 227 yards and three touchdowns.

The Wolverines defense also made life tough on Drew Allan and company, giving up only 74 passing yards and forcing two turnovers. It was the most points Michigan had given up this season, but the Nittany Lions scored too late.

"I want to thank Coach Harbaugh. I love you man," said fill-in coach Sherrone Moore, who was crying during his post-game interview on Fox. "This one is for you."

No. 2 Michigan (10-0, 7-0) will now focus on trying to get Harbaugh back on the sideline, as the hearing for the temporary restraining order will come before the Wolverines' next game against Maryland.

See our USA TODAY Sports' staff bold predictions for the rest of Saturday's games here.

Looking for Week 11 picks? We got you covered here. How about a complete TV schedule? Yep, that’s right here.

USA TODAY Sports will bring you the latest updates, scores, highlights, wild plays, analysis and more throughout the day. Follow along:

What Top 25 college football games are on today?

Here are the kickoff times and TV info for Top 25 teams in the US LBM Coaches Poll.
• No. 10 Mississippi at No. 1 Georgia, ESPN, 7 p.m.

Saturday was clearly an emotional day for Michigan and fill-in coach Sherrone Moore, who was called into action after the Big Ten on Friday suspended Jim Harbaugh amid a sign-stealing scandal.

Following No. 2 Michigan's 24-15 win vs. No. 9 Penn State, "Big Noon Saturday" sideline reporter Jenny Taft asked Moore what this win meant for the Wolverines. A tearful Moore began by thanking God before thanking his team and Harbaugh, all while dropping two F-bombs and another profanity.

"I want to thank the Lord, I want to thank Coach Harbaugh," Moore began. "(Expletive) love you, man. I love the (expletive) out of you, man. Did this for you (pointing at the camera). For this university, the president, our AD. We got the best players, best university, best alumni in the country.

"Love you guys. These (expletive) guys right here," Moore continued as he hugged running back Blake Corum. "These guys right here, man. These guys did it. These guys did it, man. Talk to him." — Zac Al-Khateeb, USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 10 Mississippi at No. 1 Georgia

Why watch: The day’s second top-10 showdown finds the Bulldogs in the familiar position of looking to close out the SEC East race. A monumental road upset would keep the Rebels in the at-large playoff conversation as well as set them up for a New Year's Six berth. The good news for Ole Miss is its triumvirate of QB Jaxson Dart, RB Quinshon Judkins and WR Tre Harris could have similar success against the tough Georgia defense as Mizzou managed last week. Georgia QB Carson Beck has his completion rate up to a healthy 72.2%, and RBs Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton are reliable drive finishers. DB Trey Washington is the Rebels’ leading stopper, but his friends in front of him need to do better to make sure the action doesn’t reach him quite so often.

Why it could disappoint: Though Ole Miss does have a nice win against LSU on its ledger, there’s still a major ‘prove it’ factor with this team on the road against top-tier competition. While this Bulldogs’ team hasn’t been as dominant as last year’s version, a U.Ga. blowout has a higher probability than a Rebel Rout. — Eddie Timanus

Why watch: The Ducks remain on course for a possible rematch with Washington in the Pac-12 finale. They have a somewhat challenging home stretch to get through first, however, starting with this late-night date with the Trojans. Southern California can still be dangerous with its ability to score points, and we’ll quickly learn how the beleaguered defense will respond to a change in leadership. That would be a tall order in any week, but particularly going up against Ducks QB Bo Nix, who is up to 25 TD passes on the season with just two picks. Oregon RB Bucky Irving is also undoubtedly looking forward to testing the leaky Trojans’ front. USC QB Caleb Williams will again be faced with the prospect of having to be nearly perfect in hostile environs. His agility often helps him keep plays alive, but Ducks DEs Brandon Dorlis and Jordan Burch could prove harder to elude.

Why it could disappoint: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but USC has to make this a shootout to keep it competitive. The Trojans very well could, but as long as Nix and Co. take care of the ball, any empty possessions their friends on the other platoon can generate will help the Ducks take control.

Penn State finally got back in the end zone, but it might be too little, too late.

The Nittany Lions had their best drive of the day in the final minutes, going 75 yards in two minutes and 16 seconds to make it a 24-15 game. Penn State went for two to try to make it a seven-point game, but a questionable formation and play didn’t work and it remained a two-score game. Penn State attempted the onside kick with less than two minutes left, but Michigan recovered. — Jordan Mendoza

Penn State stopped on fourth down; Michigan punches back with TD

Penn State got the ball back with 4:53 left with a chance to tie the score, but after a Nicholas Singleton 4-yard run, Drew Allar threw three incomplete passes as the Nittany Lions turned it over on downs at their 30, instead of punting the ball with two time outs remaining.

On the next snap, Michigan running back Blake Corum ran up the middle untouched for a 30-yard touchdown run, to extend the Wolverines lead to 24-9. — Scooby Axson

Michigan was driving, but the Nittany Lions were able to keep points off the board with eight minutes left.

A false start and tackle for loss inside Penn State territory killed any chance Michigan had of making it a two-score game, as the Wolverines punted the ball to keep Penn State’s hopes alive. Drew Allar and company will get the ball at their 12-yard line for the chance to tie. — Jordan Mendoza

Michigan has been at the center of a college football scandal, with coach Jim Harbaugh facing a three-game suspension for the program's ongoing sign-stealing scandal. On Saturday, No. 9 Penn State decided to poke fun at the No. 2 Wolverines as they faced off in Beaver Stadium.

Penn State edge rusher Dani Dennis-Sutton made a first-down stop and celebrated the play by motioning binoculars with his hands before starting to mimic writing in a notebook.

Dennis-Sutton, of course, referenced former Wolverines assistant Connor Stalions, who resigned at Michigan following news of his involvement in the sign-stealing scandal. Stalions reportedly bought tickets to multiple games and used a network of scouts to illicitly steal opponents' signs, ostensibly granting the Wolverines a competitive advantage. — Austin Curtright, USA TODAY NETWORK

Penn State had a chance to tie the score or cut the deficit, but James Franklin opted to not gamble in the second half. The Wolverines lead 17-9.

After Michigan extended its lead to eight points, Penn State got to a critical fourth and two at its 46-yard line. Penn State was set to go for it, but clear confusion on the offense resulted in a timeout. Franklin opted to punt instead, and Michigan will begin the final quarter inside its 10-yard line. — Jordan Mendoza

The Wolverines cashed in on a Penn State blunder, when quarterback Drew Allar ran up the middle and coughed up the football and it was recovered by safety Makari Paige.

Michigan then tried to play bully ball, rushing on each of its 13 plays on a 45-yard drive. The drive took 8:04 off the clock.

J.J. McCarthy ran for 24 yards, including a 9-yard scramble on fourth down, with James Turner kicking a 22-yard field goal to extend the Wolverines lead to 17-9. — Scooby Axson

Penn State gambled and it paid off.

Down 14-3 late in the second quarter and in Michigan territory, Penn State faced a fourth down and kept the offense on the field. The decision proved to be smart, with Drew Allar finding Kaden Saunders for a 13-yard pass to extend the drive.

The Nittany Lions faced another fourth down, only needing a yard. They went with a trick play, with running back Krytron Allen taking a pitch and tossing it back to Allar for the first down. On the next play, Allar powered through and ran it 11 yards into the end zone for their first touchdown of the day. Penn State went for two to make it a three-point game, but was unsuccessful. It’ll be 14-9 heading into halftime. — Jordan Mendoza

The Michigan offense is finding its rhythm, as it extended its lead with another rushing touchdown.

Blake Corum had the big play of the drive with a 44-yard run to get deep in Penn State territory.

Penn State was able to force a third-and-long for the Wolverines, but Donovan Edwards broke through with a 22-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3.

Michigan already has 106 rushing yards on the day against the best rushing defense in the country, which entered Saturday giving up 60.6 rushing yards a game. — Jordan Mendoza

The Wolverines offense woke up after trailing early, marching right down the field in nine plays and five minutes to take the lead, 7-3.

Several plays of more than 10 yards were big on the drive, including Donovan Edwards running for 22 yards into Penn State territory. Blake Corum ended the drive with a three-yard touchdown run, giving him a touchdown in every game this season. — Jordan Mendoza

The Nittany Lions are on the board.

After forcing two Michigan punts, Penn State was able to get the first points of the game on a field goal late in the first quarter.

Freshman Drew Allar was the star of the drive, connecting with Tyler Warren for a 19-yard pass early to get Penn State in Michigan territory and using his legs to get another first down in the red zone.

The Nittany Lions became the first team this season to get inside the 10-yard line against Michigan, and on a pivotal third-and-one, Allar was able to sneak in and get just enough to move the chains, but the offense stalled three yards short of the goal line. Alex Felkins then knocked in a chip shot 20-yard field goal to make it 3-0. — Jordan Mendoza

DETROIT — Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel on Saturday issued a fiery response to the Big Ten's suspension of Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh amid the football team's ongoing sign-stealing scandal.

Manuel, who released the statement just before Saturday's game, described the Big Ten's action as hasty, claiming the university wasn't given "due process." He also described Harbaugh's suspension as "insulting" and "unethical."

It's worth noting that Manuel did not deny the evidence in the statement, saying "I want to make it clear at the outset of this statement that no one at the University of Michigan is happy to hear of the allegations and preliminary evidence that has come forth about in-person scouting and sign stealing by a member of our football program." — Austin Curtright, USA TODAY NETWORK

In the absence of a solution to the Michigan sign-stealing scandal that would make everybody happy, Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti chose an option on the other end of the spectrum.

The punishment he handed out Friday, suspending coach Jim Harbaugh for the team’s three remaining games of the regular season, is guaranteed to make everyone mad.

Michigan, of course, was going to be mad no matter what Petitti did. But the Big Ten suspending Harbaugh while admitting that it had no evidence he was involved or knew of staffer Connor Stalions’ outrageous in-person scouting operation only makes it that much more frustrating for a school and fan base that is now dug-in on the idea that it did nothing wrong. — Dan Wolken

One first down was all Michigan could get on its opening drive, punting the ball on the first possession of the game.

With offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Sherrone Moore acting as head coach Saturday, the Wolverines were able to get a first down on the second play of the game, but a false start derailed the rest of the drive. J.J. McCarthy was sacked on third down, and the Wolverines will give the ball to Penn State.

Penn State wasn’t able to do much, going three-and-out on the offense’s first drive of the game, possibly foreshadowing what could be a low-scoring game. Michigan only gives up 6.7 points per game, best in FBS, while Penn State ranks third by allowing 11.9 points a game. — Jordan Mendoza

Here are our college football Week 11 expert picks:

Who will coach Michigan with Jim Harbaugh suspended?

With Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s restraining order hearing scheduled for Friday, the Wolverines will be without their head coach against Penn State.

Harbaugh was suspended from coaching on game day for the last three games of the regular season for Michigan's sign-stealing and in-person scouting scandal, and the university attempted to appeal the decision in hopes of Harbaugh being available against the Nittany Lions. With the hearing scheduled next week, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Sherrone Moore will take over the head coaching duties Saturday.

Moore joined the Wolverines as a tight ends coach in 2018, and became co-offensive coordinator in 2021. This is his first season as the only offensive coordinator.

This won’t be the first game Moore will assume head coach duties, as he had the role for Michigan’s Week 3 win over Bowling Green, 31-6, as Harbaugh served a three-game suspension for school sanctions. — Jordan Mendoza

Where is ESPN’s “College GameDay” in Week 11?

ESPN’s “College GameDay” heads to Athens, Georgia, for the top-ranked Bulldogs’ game against Ole Miss in Week 11.

The popular college football morning show was last in Athens just over a year ago, Nov. 5, 2022, for the Georgia-Tennessee game. GameDay has been to Athens at least once every year since 2018, and the Bulldogs are 8-1 over the past two years when playing at a site hosting GameDay.

There's just three Saturdays left in November, and the college football season is getting down to the nitty gritty with playoff berths, conference titles, bowl bids or even just bragging rights there for the taking.

The pressure of the situation can lead to unpredictable results. This Saturday provides plenty of opportunities for upsets and unlikely outcomes. The hard part is determining when and where those moments are going to occur.

That's why we're here to make sense of things. The USA TODAY Sports college football staff – Scooby Axson, Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken – weigh in with bold predictions for Week 11 of the college football season.

When asked about Jim Harbaugh's suspension Friday and the past 24 hours for Michigan football, former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer could only find one word to use: "Insanity."

"This is insanity," Meyer said on Fox's "Big Noon Kickoff." "You have two teams playing for a conference championship, potentially a national championship. Your head coach is eight miles away."

As for Michigan's "sign-stealing scheme," Meyer said he's "never heard of that" in his head coaching career.

"I've heard people say 'Everyone does it.' I've never heard of that in my career," Meyer said. — Colin Gay, Columbus Dispatch

The saga of the Michigan sign-stealing investigation is continuing on with no end in sight. The NCAA is involved and the Big Ten on Friday suspended coach Jim Harbaugh for the remainder of the regular season. Michigan has filed a restraining order.

The second College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday with Ohio State still ahead of Georgia, though the Bulldogs appear to be peaking at the right time. There's also scrutiny for the ranking of one-loss teams with Oregon, Alabama and Texas among that group hoping for chaos ahead.

Dan Wolken and Paul Myerberg of USA TODAY Sports discuss these topics and more in this week's version of the College Football Fix.

A cursory glance at the Week 11 college football schedule would suggest that the results will bring a measure of clarity to the playoff picture. The fact of the matter is things are fairly cut and dried already, and only an infusion of chaos that has been conspicuously absent all season will alter the list of actual contenders.

Even so, all of said contenders will be taking the field Saturday, and most of their games should be worth a look. We begin our ranking of the seven most watchable contests with the championship candidate that could be in for its first four-quarter fight of the campaign. — Eddie Timanus

No. 2 Michigan at No. 9 Penn State

Why watch: At last, the Wolverines face a ranked opponent, and one that is in a must-win situation at that. After coming up short at Ohio State last month, the Nittany Lions absolutely positively have to have this one to keep any playoff aspirations alive. For all the off-field drama surrounding the Michigan program, there’s been very little of it in game action with the Wolverines outscoring their first nine opponents by an average of 40.7-6.7. The Michigan offense, directed by QB J.J. McCarthy and featuring RB Blake Corum and WR Roman Wilson, is converting at a 55% clip on third down. But on the other side Penn State leads the Big Ten in third-down defense, allowing a conversion rate of 28.7%, with DL Adisa Isaac and Zane Durant leading the effort in the trenches. Nittany Lions QB Drew Allar is coming off arguably his best performance of the season at Maryland. He might need to be even better to solve the Michigan air defense that has swiped 12 passes and returned four to the house, including a pair by Mike Sainristil.

Why it could disappoint: Though it will surely be the subject of pregame discussion, the ongoing signal stealing investigation isn’t likely to mar the game action at this point. But if the contest is another defensive slog as Penn State’s game at Ohio State was, or if one team finds its offense while the other struggles, the fun factor will be severely curtailed. In the latter scenario, Michigan is the more likely candidate to secure a multi-score cushion with its more proven commodities. — Eddie Timanus

Why watch: The Crimson Tide essentially won the SEC West last week with their LSU victory, but they’ll make it official with a win here in Lexington. The Wildcats have had some moments this season, like a decisive drubbing of Florida, but have for the most part been overmatched by top-tier competition. Tide QB Jalen Milroe has made steady improvement with his passing accuracy, but as LSU learned last week he’s still equally dangerous as a running threat. He’ll likely draw added attention from Wildcats LB D’Eryk Jackson. The Kentucky offense is at its best when RB Ray Davis has room to operate, but that hasn’t been the case against the league’s more accomplished defenses. There are yards to be had against the Tide secondary if Wildcats QB Devin Leary isn’t under duress, but LB Dallas Turner produces a lot of that.

Why it could disappoint: History is not on the side of the Wildcats, who haven’t beaten the Tide since 1997. Kentucky must find some early success to keep its home fans involved, but a fast start from Alabama could put this on ice quickly. — Eddie Timanus

The University of Michigan has filed for a temporary restraining order against the Big Ten's decision to suspend football coach Jim Harbaugh for the program's sign-stealing scheme. The hearing was not scheduled in time for a ruling before Saturday's game, so Harbaugh will not be coaching.

Washtenaw County Circuit Court will hold a hearing for the University of Michigan request at 9 a.m. on Nov. 17, according to multiple reports. The case was first presided by Judge Timothy Connors but later sent to the desk of Judge Carol Kunhke.

The Big Ten announced it was suspending Harbaugh for the remainder of the regular season after concluding Michigan broke the conference's sportsmanship policy after having a years-long operation of in-person scouting of future opponents, a violation of NCAA rules.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the school said it was dismayed by Harbaugh's three-game ban, which will cover Saturday's game against No. 9 Penn State as well as games against Maryland on Nov. 18 and Ohio State on Nov. 25. — Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports; Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press

The University of Michigan's football team is embroiled in a practice that's as old as college football itself: sign-stealing.

A Michigan staffer has been accused of buying tickets to games against the Wolverines' conference and possible future College Football Playoff opponents with the sole purpose of stealing signs and scouting so Michigan could have an advantage in games.

That staffer, Connor Stalions, has resigned and the Big Ten and NCAA are investigating. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has denied any involvement in the sign-stealing scheme.

Here is the latest of what we know about Michigan and the sign-stealing accusations. — Scooby Axson

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