State College, Pa. – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been known to deliver an interesting quote here and there or a movie reference, and it was no different following the Wolverines' victory at Penn State.
After Michigan's 28-16 win, Harbaugh was asked if he believes in the theory that not all teams can be "up" for every game and could lay an egg, as the saying goes, and if he thought that was possible for his team at Penn State.
"The egg analogy doesn't resonate with me," Harbaugh said. "I don't really like comparing humans to chickens or any other type of animal."
Saw something special
When Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock decided he would leave Iowa earlier this year after two years as the Hawkeyes starter when C.J. Beathard was listed first string on the pre-spring roster, he chose the Wolverines because of Harbaugh.
Rudock has helped lead the Wolverines to a 9-2, 6-1 Big Ten record and with his 256 yards passing against Penn State, he became the first Michigan quarterback to throw for 250 yards or more in three straight games. Last week at Indiana he set a single-game Michigan record with six touchdown passes.
“Just knew there was something special, first off, the coaching staff they brought together, all the experience they bring,” Rudock said on why he came to Michigan. “And once I was able to see practice in the spring and how hard those guys were working and the kind of players we have. And going into fall camp, you just kind of knew these guys want it bad. “
For Harbaugh’s part, considering he took over the job just before the new year, he said it obviously took time to get to know his team.
“It was a process of getting to know them,” Harbaugh said. “I can’t say what I know now (I knew) in January and February. The great thing about our team, that’s been it the whole time. They’ve been relentless in the same kind of demanding punishing pace. It hasn’t stopped.”
Flag, flag, flag …
Michigan was called for 13 penalties that accounted for 117 yards. Penn State had five first downs because of Michigan penalties.
The Nittany Lions were penalized three times for 30 yards.
“Yeah, it was pretty lopsided,” Harbaugh said. “Be anxious to look at them and see what it was.”
Anthony Zettel was called in the second half for a targeting on Michigan quarterback Rudock, but after a review it was revised as roughing the passer.
Rudock, who has taken some big hits this season, was asked after the game if he thought that was targeting.
“You mean the one that hit me on the chin?” Rudock said. “I don’t know the rules of targeting, and I don’t think I’ll understand them after this year. Whatever they call, I’m sure they’re the ones who read the rulebook and know all that stuff.
“I have no idea — you’re a quarterback, you’re going to get hit in the head. They’re trying to hit you hard. There’s like a sick, sadistic thing about seeing a quarterback and wanting to hit him on defense. That’s how our defense is, too. That’s how it is.”
Love for Lewis
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis had four tackles and a pass breakup, adding to his single-season record total, which is now 21.
He also had four kickoff returns for 105 yards, including an important 55-yarder that gave Michigan the ball at the Penn State 40-yard line and set up the Wolverines’ final score.
“We’ve seen it on defense, now we’re seeing it on special teams; he’s just a great playmaker,” tight end Jake Butt said of Lewis. “He got tripped up on a few earlier (returns). I don’t know how many tackles he broke, but one thing we said in the huddle (before the last kickoff return), we needed that play, we needed a spark, because we were letting them hang around a little too much. So everyone blocked as hard as they could as long as they could, through the whistle, and (Lewis) made a few guys miss, broke a few tackles, and that just ignited us.”
Penn State entered the game as the nation’s leader in sacks, averaging 4.2, and the Nittany Lions were without their sack leader, Carl Nassib, because of injury.
But Michigan’s offensive line gave up only two sacks, protecting Rudock well, along with tailback De’Veon Smith, who has been stronger in pass protection this season.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Harbaugh said. “Whenever you win a road game, you’re overcoming the other team, you’re overcoming the other team’s fans. That really makes you feel like a man when you do that. Nobody was more manly or mighty than our offensive line today. I thought the way they run blocked, the pass protection in particular was very good, very physical. They played a complete game up front.”