The Penn State Nittany Lions overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and then scored a touchdown in the fourth overtime to beat the No. 18 Michigan Wolverines, 43-40, in a college football clash on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Running back Bill Belton dashed around left end from two yards out to seal the Big Ten win for the Nittany Lions.
The Wolverines trailed 21-10 after 30 minutes but rode a big second half from quarterback Devin Gardner, who connected on touchdown passes to tight end Devin Funchess and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon to overcome a stingy Nittany Lions run defense. Gardner was the only player for U-M to have success on the ground, as he tallied 121 yards on 24 carries, while running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green managed only 28 yards combined on 30 rushes.
After Gardner ran for a key first down with just over three minutes left, it appeared the Wolverines might have a chance to run out the clock. But Penn State took possession with 50 seconds left for one final drive in regulation, and quickly drove the field to set up quarterback Christian Hackenberg's 1-yard TD plunge. Michigan then had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Brendan Gibbons fell short on a 52-yard field goal attempt, which sent the game into overtime.
Neither team scored in the first extra session, but Gibbons hit a 25-yard field goal in the second OT and PSU kicker Sam Ficken connected from 36 yards out. In the third overtime, Gibbons had a chance to win it outright for the Wolverines, but pushed a 33-yard try wide left. In the fourth and final overtime session, Gibbons hit on a 40-yard attempt, but Penn State converted a fourth-and-one on the ensuing possession, and Belton soon after dashed in for the winning points.
U-M senior tackle Taylor Lewan left the game in the first half due to an injury and returned for only one play before departing for the remainder of the contest, but Gardner still operated effectively in the pocket. The junior signal caller ended the game with 240 yards passing and two TD strikes, but he also tossed three interceptions. As of this writing, there was no word on Lewan's condition.
Michigan, which fell to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play, returns home for a date next Saturday in Ann Arbor with the Indiana Hoosiers. The Big Ten Network will televise the meeting, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET.