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The Michigan-Penn State Death Blow

The Nittany Lions crushed the Wolverines this past weekend. These are words about that soul-crushing.

When the Michigan-Penn State score flashed across Twitter on Saturday, the bloody reality of what occurred at University Park came into full focus: A 22-7 win for the Nittany Lions, the worst margin of defeat that Michigan has experienced in its young Division I existence. Great Lax State summarizes the result fairly well:

I wasn’t expecting a Michigan win in this one, but the degree to which they were blown out came as a surprise. Scoring against Austin Kaut and Co. was a known tall task. Penn State’s ability to score seemingly at will on the other end of the field was the surprise.

Rather than duplicate Tim's work, I want to focus on the first 30 minutes of play. In the first half, Penn State raced out to an 11-1 lead, dominating the first two quarters of play while attempting to erase Michigan from reality. The details in the first half indicate a shellacking of the first order, the kind of brutish activity concomitant with an emotionless robot apocalypse.


The story wasn't that the Nittany Lions shut out the Wolverines and put eight tallies on the board; it's that Penn State did so with relative ease while butchering Michigan's heart1:

Offensive Opportunities 13 6
Offensive Opportunity Margin +7 -7
Average Offensive Opportunity Length 0:38 0:59
Offensive Efficiency 61.54 0.00
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 66.67 15.38
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.08 0.83
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 57.14% 0.00%

Some brief notes on this:

  • Penn State scored on its first six offensive opportunities. The average length of those possessions was 44 seconds. That's . . . that's lightning strikes.
  • Penn State scored five goals directly off of face-offs in the first period. The average length of those possessions was 41 seconds with two six-second scores in there.
  • Four of Michigan's five shots in the quarter ended with an Austin Kaut -- The Blonde Satan -- save. The fifth went wide with 18 seconds left in the period.
  • The best way to characterize Penn State's offense in the first quarter: "Possession-Shot-Score," but said real fast like that Micro Machines guy. The best way to characterize Michigan's offense in the first quarter: "The Blonde Satan's Death Stare."
  • Penn State's last technical possession in the quarter came with six seconds remaining. If you erase that opportunity from the board, the numbers look even worse for Michigan and more dastardly for the Lions.


The second quarter wasn't quite as streamlined as the first, and that's due to the fact that the Nittany Lions didn't try and make the scoreboard explode. It was a quarter with flurry, but one noted by lost Michigan opportunities:

Offensive Opportunities 8 7
Offensive Opportunity Margin +1 -1
Average Offensive Opportunity Length 0:51 0:48
Offensive Efficiency 37.50 14.29
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 14.29 37.50
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.13 1.43
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 33.33% 10.00%

Some brief notes on this:

  • Michigan had a 1:28 possession late in the second quarter where Penn State committed three penalties: J.P. Burnside committed an illegal body check at 5:13 (a 2:00 infraction), and Steven Bogert committed an illegal body check at 4:24 (a 1:00 infraction), and Jack Donnelly committed an unnecessary roughness penalty at 4:24 (a 1:00 penalty). What did Michigan get with the personnel imbalance in their favor? A timeout, a shot (that sailed high), and a turnover (caused by Tyler Travis). That's . . . that's an odd piece of performance art.
  • Michigan's goal was an extra-man goal.
  • Michigan's last possession of the quarter came with one second remaining (it was off of a burned timer-on Penn State possession). If you pull out that possession, Michigan's numbers look a little better (but just a shade better).
  • Michigan turned the ball over on four of its seven opportunities in the second quarter, almost 60 percent of the Wolverines' offensive opportunities in the period. Those giveaways were kind of deadly: The first turnover -- a Chase Brown giveaway -- came off of a Michigan face-off win and directly lead to a Penn State goal 36 seconds later; the second turnover occurred after a Robbie Zonino save and Michigan in a clearing posture (the clear failed thanks to the Tom LaCrosse caused turnover), robbing the Wolverines of a box possession; the third turnover came with the Wolverines in an offensive possession (The Blonde Satan caused a turnover against Ian King); and the fourth turnover occurred with Michigan in a man-up posture (a caused giveaway). Failing to maximize opportunities is a killer against exemplary teams.
  • Penn State scored on its first two possessions of the second quarter.

This is as ugly as it gets at the Division I level in terms of 30 minutes of play. The game was over before the second half even started.


1This was all determined by the play-by-play on Penn State's website.