In the midst of the first leg of the most hard three-game stretch of their season, they used Barkley alternatively as both a weapon and a decoy.
They used him to set up deep passes to their other receivers, like DaeSean Hamilton, and to Mike Gesicki, a tight end with the kind of NFL-ready athleticism that allowed him to literally hurdle his own quarterback during a touchdown celebration. Barkley followed with a 15-yard touchdown, and within five minutes, the Lions had scored more points than they did in the 2016 MI game. McSorley (6'0/195) struggled with accuracy in the first half, but really turned things on from the third quarter on, particularly with his legs.
The matchup between Penn State's offense and Michigan's defense was worth the billing it received going in. Then came the moment when McSorley, leading the way to the MI end zone once more, threw perhaps his worst interception of the season. Penn State outgained MI 302-141 in the first half and never looked back from there.
Saquon Barkley's Heisman Trophy candidacy took an impressive step Saturday as the star junior led No. 2-ranked Penn State to a 42-13 home win over rival MI.
So compare the "We want Bama!" chants to Penn State coach James Franklin, who (not so earnestly) doesn't even seem to know he's coaching against the Buckeyes in Week 9. Despite the ugly loss to Michigan State a couple weeks back, the Wolverines maintain Big Ten Championship and even College Football Playoff hopes.
But Saturday night proved this will only get you so far.
The No. 2 Nittany Lions beat No. 19 MI 42-13 in front of a white out crowd of 110,823, the largest in Beaver Stadium history. Here is how to watch the Wolverines, plus a breakdown of key storylines and more.
Barkley scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes to regain some Heisman Trophy momentum, and his good hands to haul in a bobbled reception for a score made up for an early job that likely cost Penn State some points when the game was still in some doubt. It engineered a stunning in-season turnaround following that loss, winning nine straight games and the Big Ten title before falling in the Rose Bowl.