One storied program salvaged its reputation against another trying to restore its lofty status. Chad Henne threw his second touchdown pass...
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — One storied program salvaged its reputation against another trying to restore its lofty status.
Chad Henne threw his second touchdown pass to Mario Manningham from 10 yards out with no time left to lift Michigan to a thrilling 27-25 victory over No. 8 Penn State yesterday.
“That’s as wild a game as I’ve ever been in — just unbelievable,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
Michigan (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) — the winningest team in college football — avoided its worst record in mid-October since 1967.
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“It’s a huge win,” linebacker David Harris said. “It’s a big turning point in our season.”
The Nittany Lions (6-1, 3-1) are still off to their best start since 1999, but fell out of sole possession of first place in the conference with their seventh straight loss in the series.
“It was a great football game. Our kids hung in there,” Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno said quietly. “I’m proud of them. I’m disappointed for them.”
Paterno didn’t make his players available for comment — just like he didn’t the last time he faced Michigan in 2002, a 27-24 overtime loss on the road. “You’re going to ask them the same questions you’d ask me,” Paterno explained.
Michael Robinson scored his second touchdown from 3 yards out with 53 seconds left to give the Nittany Lions a 25-21 lead, but Steve Breaston returned the kickoff to midfield to set up the game-winning score.
“We should’ve just power-kicked it to the other side,” Paterno said. “He hurt us.”
A second was left on the clock when Henne took the last snap and connected with Manningham in the middle of the end zone.
“Chad put it right there,” Manningham said.
It couldn’t have been a more exciting second half — with both teams taking what appeared to be commanding leads — after Michigan led 3-0 at halftime.
Penn State scored 15 points in 17 seconds — on Robinson’s 4-yard run, a fumble return and a 2-point conversion after a botched kick attempt — to take an 18-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
But Michigan quickly responded with Henne’s 33-yard TD pass to Manningham and Mike Hart’s two-point conversion run to tie the score.
The Wolverines then made just enough plays and had just enough time to earn the victory they — and a much-maligned Carr — desperately needed.
“Coach said the game was going to come down to a play like that, and it did, and we pulled it off,” Michigan defensive tackle Watson said.
Hart ran for 108 yards and a score. Henne was 21 of 36 for 212 yards with two TDs and a fumble, which was ripped away by linebacker Alan Zemaitis and returned 35 yards for a go-ahead score.