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Michigan Flexes Muscles for Win

The No. 4 Wolverines get seven sacks and hold Penn State to 186 yards in total offense in a gritty 17-10 victory on the road.

October 15, 2006|From the Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa — Rondell Biggs flew in off the edge for one of Michigan's seven sacks, then flexed his biceps to celebrate.

The Wolverines' defense provided plenty of muscle, Adrian Arrington and Mike Hart each scored a touchdown and No. 4 Michigan stayed unbeaten with a 17-10 win over Penn State on Saturday night in a Big Ten Conference game.

"Our defense really showed that all year," Wolverines quarterback Chad Henne said. "They played spectacular tonight, and they gave us the ball in favorable positions and sometimes we didn't capitalize."

Henne was without one of his best weapons in big-play threat Mario Manningham, who had knee surgery.

But on Saturday night, the defense grabbed the spotlight, holding Penn State to 186 total yards. The Lions finished with minus-14 rushing yards, with much of the negative yardage coming on sacks

Michigan's front seven was too tough and fast for Penn State, which fell to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

The Wolverines often got into the backfield to pressure or sack Nittany Lions starting quarterback Anthony Morelli, who was knocked out early in the third quarter after what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit from Alan Branch.

Backup Darryl Clark left the game too, looking groggy after getting hit on a scramble.

Yet, Michigan still got a late scare after Tony Hunt turned a screen pass from third-stringer Paul Cianciolo into a 43-yard touchdown, energizing a crowd eager to see Penn State end its decade-long, seven-game losing streak to the Wolverines (7-0, 4-0).

Michigan was forced to punt on its next drive, but Cianciolo ran out of magic. A incomplete pass on fourth down secured the victory with a minute left.

It was a nice way for the Wolverines to head home to Ann Arbor to prepare for Iowa at the Big House next weekend. Coach Lloyd Carr is impressed with the way his team has handled the pressure of a Bowl Championship Series run.

"We have had an incredible stretch of games," Carr said. "We've been through the gauntlet, I've admired the way they've handled it. It really comes down to the leadership and the maturity they have."

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