Saturday, October 18, 2008

Michigan vs. Penn State, 1999: Fourth Quarter

We go three wide and Brady drops back. It's a setup for another screen to A-Train, but Thomas juggles and then drops it. On 2nd, Thomas does a good job with his blitz pickup, but PSU sends the house and Brady can't find anyone. LaVar Arrington comes flying in to smack Brady on a flying leap at his chin.

Punt. Branch is bottled up on the return, stepping out at the 22. TE John "Rory" Gilmore gets the pass from Thompson for a first down at the 33. Jim Herrmann's moustache sees something and gesticulates wildly as the ball is blown ready for play. Larry Johnson gets the carry up the gut for no gain. Michigan rushes four, but James Hall is spun down and sat on as Kevin Thompson delivers a strike downfield to Gilmore on the seam, 25 yards down to the 41, with another 15 tacked on for a dumb, ineffective roughing-the-passer call on Renes. Gilmore was Dhani Jones's man, who was looking to see if Thompson would scramble and was consequently slow to react as Gilmore blew by him.

First down on the Michigan 26. Fields again with a huge cushion from Howard and he takes the easy 9 yards. Flags before the play, false start on PSU. PSU has rushed 17 times for 14 yards. B.A.D. in at corner. Thompson's pass is batted as Jake Frysinger comes in unblocked. On 2nd, Todd Howard comes on a corner blitz that doesn't come close. Thompson finds Fields on the hash. Terrell's playing tighter coverage, but can't break up the pass. First and ten from the 11. Thompson's fade doesn't come close to Corey Jones, who's still out on the 3 with Whitley. On 3rd down, Drummond has Terrell initially beat on the slant, but the ball is slow in arriving and Terrell gets a solid hand on it to break it up. Penn State kicks the field goal to take their first lead of the game, 20-17. 11:59 remains in the 4th quarter.

Walter Cross takes the ball on the goal line and brings it up to the 16. Play action from Brady, but Terrell is covered and well overthrown. Brady comes down to Thompson on second down for a gain of 14. Thomas tries to run the ball behind the right tackle, but he's been driven back too far for Thomas to get more than 2. On the next play, Brady gets destroyed as Maurice Williams (-2) gets owned by DE Justin Kerpeikis. 3rd and 15, Brady hangs in a pocket that's slowly collapsing and hurls one at Marquise Walker near midfield, where Bhawow Jue picks him off and takes it back for 6. It was a tight window, as Walker ends up between three blue jerseys, and Jue went right to the ball and got some blockers. 27-17, PSU. Their mascot looks like an old carpet sample. Danielson thinks lazy route-running from Walker was the cause of the interception.

Lloyd is not happy with Walter Cross ending up on the wrong side of the 20 and Charles Drake gets the kickoff...and takes it to the 19. Blerg. Shea gets the screen and gets hit immediately. Brady gets hit as he lofts one behind Marquise Walker. 3rd and 8. Trips up at the top of the formation. Brady gets hit as he releases and the closest receiver is a PSU LB, but a flag comes out and Brandon Short, the LB, gets flagged for interference. Against the nickel, A-Train finds a big hole and takes it for 9 yards. Brady takes a timeout. Or doesn't. Delay of game, and he's snowed under on the 2nd down. On third down, he hits Terrell at the sticks for the first. 6:47 left and we get a good shot of the band, including my section leader Lucy.

And now we take penalty off a confused/illegal substitution. Double tight ends and Brady can't find anyone, so he takes off. This time he has room to run and scrambles for 15 yards and a first down. 6:00 left, ball at midfield. Brady steps up and fires a strike to Terrell 20 yards downfield. DT is slow to get up. Brady pumps once, then launches a parabola to Marcus Knight on a slant-and-go. The ball is a bit overthrown, but David Macklin has his hands on Knight's jersey and he gets flagged for PI. 5:12 left. Danielson notes that Terrell is limping as Brady gets his pass attempt batted at the line. A-Train on the sweep to the right side and there's nothing there. Michigan goes four wide. Marcus Knight draws attention away from Marquise Walker, who gets the ball and makes a few yards with his feet before getting caught at the 2. First and goal, 4:20 remaining. Toss sweep to Thomas and he loses three, as PSU saw it coming. Brady again can't find anyone, but the middle of the field has cleared out and Brady just manages to extend the ball into the endzone as he's tackled. Woooo! Michigan draws to within 3, 24-27, 3:26 remaining in the 4th quarter.

Penn state has the regular kick return formation, and Epstein does indeed boot it deep into the endzone. PSU takes a knee. The Nittany Lions still only have 18 rushes for 14 yards, so they go to the air on first down and Thompson throws it out of bounds. McCoo loses three yards on his rushing attempt, bringing up 3rd and 13. Brady's sacrifice of five yards to preserve a timeout bears fruit as Michigan can use one now, with 3:10 remaining. Thompson throws up a parabola to Eddie Drummond as he starts to feel the pressure. It's underthrown and Whitley's in better position for the ball than Drummond.

The punt is a line drive to DiAllo Johnson at the Michigan 42. He makes the first man miss, finds a hole in the middle of the second wave and busts it down to the Penn State 35. Brady's screen is over Shawn Thompson's head, and it wasn't going anywhere even if caught. Brady looks for Terrell at the sticks, but he's not there in time. Brady from the gun, 4 wide. Knight and Walker combine again, this time Knight coming all the way across the formation as Walker sucks the coverage deeper, leaving him wide open. First down at the 19, the ball goes to Thomas on a sweep. Aaron Shea levels his man. Thomas stumbles leaping over him, but it's a gain of 7 with 2:00 left. Brady has a ton of time and MARCUS KNIGHT!!! Knight headed inside a little bit and then busted back out in the endzone and Brady hit him in stride. For what it's worth, Knight was matched up against the same safety he toasted on his earlier touchdown. Michigan takes back the lead, 31-27.

Another touchback from Epstein. No matter they moved the kickers back. Thompson looks for Fields running down the sideline, but Todd Howard (+1) is locked up on him, finally, and has good position. Eddie Drummond finds the hole in the zone between three defenders and gets the ball for a 19-yard gain. Michigan is rushing three again and Thompson fires the ball out of bounds as McCoo broke off his route waaaaay early. 2nd and 10. Michigan threatens blitz pre-snap but one man bails out for a four-man rush. A DE gets vaguely near, but has two blockers to occupy him as Thompson sails one over Eddie Drummond's head near the Michigan 35. With 3rd and 10, Michigan is playing soft and Thompson makes an easy throw to Corey Jones for 5 and then 3 more before Cato June and Todd Howard escort him out of bounds. It looked like Howard was giving his man miles of room again, but I guess Thompson wanted a sure thing. On 4th and 2, they again go to the air. Michigan has a 3-man line and 3 LBs in the box. Whitley falls on his face from Eddie Drummond's block, leaving Drummond wide open on the slant at the Michigan 45 and he runs for another 10.

1st and 10 from the 34. Three man rush again and Thompson has time. He tries to float a ball into Drummond racing down the sidelines, trying to exploit a hole in the zone, but Whitley makes an excellent play, jumping up to tip the ball out of bounds. The yikes part of the play comes from the fact that instead of taking the man, DeWayne Patmon also took the ball and Drummond has a good shot at 6 if Whitley misses. 0:59 left, 2nd and 10 and Michigan sends the house. Ian Gold comes from the blind side and the fullback takes a lousy angle. Gold speeds around and through him, smacks the ball out of Thompson's hands, and Larry Foote falls on the fumble.

The offense comes out, needing to pick up a first down to guarantee victory. Thomas is tackled after a two-yard gain, as newborn children know what's coming up. PSU timeout, 0:47 left. Give to Thomas on a sweep to the left. Shea locks up on his man, so does Thompson. Hutchinson has moved to the second level and Backus is left with no one to block. Thomas runs for an easy first down at midfield. Brady takes a knee and Danielson emphasises that it's now three in a row for the maize and blue. Musberger, meanwhile, calls Tom Brady "the most underrated college quarterback in the country," and boy did that prove out in a big way. Brady takes a knee, and that's the ballgame.

Penn State would lose its next game to Michigan State, 35-28. Though no doubt devastated over the loss of the Land Grant Trophy, the Nittany Lions would destroy Texas A&M 24-0 in the Alamo Bowl. Michigan still had a chance at the Rose Bowl, but Wisconsin destroyed a woeful Iowa team to secure their trip to Pasadena. Instead, Michigan would go to the Orange Bowl, playing the first overtime game in school history, against Alabama.

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