Michigan’s defensive struggles continue as Penn State 4th-string RB has career game

Penn State’s Keyvone Lee entered Saturday’s game against Michigan with 93 rushing yards in five games this season.



a group of baseball players on a field: Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson (14) runs up the field in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game against Penn State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.


© Mike Mulholland | [email protected]/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson (14) runs up the field in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game against Penn State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.

The true freshman running back more than doubled his season total against the Wolverines, rushing 22 times for 134 yards and a touchdown in a 27-17 victory at Michigan Stadium.

The Nittany Lions have been without their top two running backs since Week 2 and were also without their third-stringer Devyn Ford on Saturday, leaving freshmen Lee and Caziah Holmes as the top two options in the backfield. Holmes added 34 yards on 10 carries, while the Wolverines (2-4) also lost contain on quarterback Sean Clifford multiple times as he had 73 yards on the ground, including a 29-yard touchdown run.



a group of people on a court: Michigan takes the field before their Big Ten football game against Penn State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.


© Mike Mulholland | [email protected]/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Michigan takes the field before their Big Ten football game against Penn State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.

Meanwhile, Lee went untouched on his way into the end zone on his 6-yard touchdown run.

“I’d have to go back and watch the film to be able to digest everything that happened,” defensive end Taylor Upshaw said after the game. “I do know that we lost the edge a couple times. I do know we got to tackle better. But as far as why they had so many rushing yards, I’d have to go back and watch the film to see that why that is.”



a person wearing a helmet: Michigan linebacker Josh Ross (12) looks on before a snap in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game against Penn State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.


© Mike Mulholland | [email protected]/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Michigan linebacker Josh Ross (12) looks on before a snap in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game against Penn State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.

The Wolverines have been picked apart by opposing offenses all season. Wisconsin rushed for 341 yards against Michigan on Nov. 14. The Wolverines held Rutgers to 105 rushing yards on 40 attempts last week, but the Scarlet Knights quarterback gashed their secondary and threw for a career-high 381 yards.

Michigan’s struggles against the run returned Saturday. Whether it was the freshmen backs or Clifford, they were able to frequently slip through tackles and pick up chunk yardage.

Wisconsin primarily had success running jet sweeps and getting to the edge. Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh said the team made adjustments to contain the edge, but PSU was able to bounce outside multiple times and find holes.

“We put in two new schemes that set the edge better,” Harbaugh said. “A lot of the plays today weren’t initial edge plays, but they started inside and the back was able to find the crease on the edge. They folded in or we did make the tackle on the edge.



a group of baseball players playing a football game: Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson (14) is pushed out of bounds by Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker (1) and linebacker Ellis Brooks (13) in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.


© Mike Mulholland | [email protected]/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson (14) is pushed out of bounds by Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker (1) and linebacker Ellis Brooks (13) in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.

“We got to tackle better. There’s too many missed tackles. Got to take away what their offense is trying to do to you as well with the right call at the right time. A lot of things that came together that weren’t effective as we wanted to be.”

The Wolverines rank 10th in the Big Ten in rushing defense at 178.8 yards allowed per game, and they now lead the conference in rushing touchdowns against with 14 after giving up three Saturday.

Upshaw said there is no excuse for the team to be regularly missing tackles at this point in the season.

“When it comes to tackling, it’s pretty simple,” he said. “You run into the person, tackle him to the ground. We’ve been doing this. It’s just something you got to do. We’ve been taught our whole lives to tackle as long as we’ve been playing football.”

Get Wolverine Confidential texts straight to your phone from our Michigan football writers. Cut through the clutter of social media and communicate directly with our beat reporters, just like you would with your friends. Sign up for insight on the Wolverines for $4.99 a month (with a 60-day free trial) by texting 734-215-6605.



a football player running on a baseball field: Michigan tight end Erick All (83) is tackled by Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks (13) in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.


© Mike Mulholland | [email protected]/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Michigan tight end Erick All (83) is tackled by Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks (13) in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.

———



a baseball player wearing a helmet: Michigan offensive lineman Zach Carpenter (58) looks to keep Penn State defenders out of the backfield in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.


© Mike Mulholland | [email protected]/Mike Mulholland | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS
Michigan offensive lineman Zach Carpenter (58) looks to keep Penn State defenders out of the backfield in the first quarter of their Big Ten football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, November 28, 2020.

©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

Visit MLive.com, Walker, Mich. at www.mlive.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Continue Reading

Source Article