Jim Harbaugh says Michigan showed great character and "won really hard" in 28-21 loss at Penn State, Oct. 19, 2019 and University Park, Pa.
     Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Free Press sports writer Orion Sang rates 16 Michigan football on a scale of 1 to 10 after a 28-21 loss at No. 1. 7 Penn State:

Offense: 6

As with the defense, it was a tale of two halves. The Wolverines scored once in the first half. Then they came alive. Michigan's offense showed glimpses of what most expected it to be. Receivers were given a chance to make plays in space. The run game gained yardage. And quarterback Shea Patterson, helped by an offensive line that gave him time, played his best game of the season. The Wolverines' second-half performance is a blueprint for success moving forward, as the offense gained 248 yards on six drives and reached the red zone on three consecutive possessions to end the game. But the first-half struggles can't be ignored.

[ The Michigan football team we waited for finally showed up … too late ]

Defense: 6

Penn State receiver KJ Hamler tackled by Michigan defensive back Brad Hawkins during the first quarter at Beaver Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Photo: Rich Barnes, USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan's defense allowed 282 yards on 12 drives, not including the final possession where Penn State knelt the game out. Of those 12 drives, eight ended in punts – including penultimate possession, when Michigan's defense forced the Nittany Lions backwards into a three-and-out that gave U-M's offense a prime position for a potential tying drive. But it was those other four drives where the Wolverines lost the game. Michigan gave up too many explosive plays and too often found itself in unfavorable matchups against speedy receiver KJ Hamler, who caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores. The Wolverines showed off battling back and shutting down Penn State in the second half. But, as with the offense, the mistakes were too much to overcome.

Special teams: 4


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Michigan QB Shea Patterson and LB Khaleke Hudson answer questions after the 28-21 loss to Penn State, Oct. 19, 2019 and University Park, Pa.
     Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press