ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan's players had talked all week about how upset they were with Penn State, feeling that the Nittany Lions tried to score another touchdown late in last year's game with a 29-point lead.
And the No. 5 Wolverines were happy to lay it on the Lions on Saturday, winning, 42-7, with the help of four touchdowns in a span of 8 minutes, 12 seconds in the third and fourth quarters.
Quarterback Shea Patterson, in his first year with Michigan after transferring from Mississippi, knew what his teammates were feeling.
"I wasn't here last year, but I understand Penn State ran up the score against us last year," he said. "If we had a chance to run it up against them, we were going to do it."
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley has established a reputation for toughness in his career, with no bigger example than last week when he returned to the game against Iowa after suffering an injury to his right knee and played the entire second half.
McSorley did not look as if he was 100 percent Saturday, but head coach James Franklin thought his quarterback was being truthful with him telling him how he felt.
"Trace has always been very up-front and honest with us," he said. "Trace is not going to put his playing over the team. He's a very mature guy. He's never done those things."
Franklin said that McSorley received treatment every day during the week, and that he thought he "looked good, he felt good."
"He's always very honest, very up-front, very transparent," he said. "So we would never question that. When Trace tells us something, we trust it."
Since McSorley took over for an injured Christian Hackenberg in the TaxSlayer Bowl, the final game of the 2015 season, he had passed for a touchdown or run for a touchdown in every game, a streak of 36 in a row that ended Saturday.
His streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass ended at 34 two weeks earlier at Indiana. He has 20 career games in which he has scored a rushing touchdown and thrown a TD pass.
Franklin raised some eyebrows in the second quarter when, instead of taking the ball at the Penn State 35 after a Michigan kickoff went out of bounds, he elected to have the Wolverines rekick from their 30.
K.J. Hamler, the nation's No. 10 kickoff returner coming into the game with a 28.4-yard average, took the second kickoff at the 6 and headed upfield, but was tackled at the 23, a 12-yard difference.
"We had 39 yards of offense at that point," Franklin said. "The way we were struggling against that defense, I was looking to try to give us a spark, take the penalty, make them rekick it, and get the ball into a playmaker's hands with K.J. Obviously, we didn't execute well enough, so we ended up losing yardage."