Michigan’s offense remains minimal with QB John O’Korn

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Here’s the positive: Michigan quarterback John O’Korn improved from his last outing.

Here’s the negative: O’Korn was Michigan’s quarterback in its 42-13 loss Saturday at No. 2 Penn State.

Until Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says otherwise, O’Korn will remain Michigan’s starting quarterback, despite the continued calls from the fan base to make Brandon Peters the starter, and despite the lack of pizzazz in the offense.

O’Korn finished with 166 yards on 16-of-28 passing, nearly tripling his output of 58 passing yards last weekend in a win at Indiana. But he bore the brunt of the offensive shortcomings, particularly those of the offensive line, as he was sacked seven times.

Michigan’s offense couldn’t keep up with the scorching pace Penn State set by scoring touchdowns on its first two drives. The Wolverines went three-and-out on their first two drives, accruing minus-5 yards rushing in the game’s first 5 minutes.

“Early on, especially the first two drives, we put our defense in a little bit of a hole,” O’Korn said. “Then, we were finally able to get things clicking and get things rolling. Halftime came and we were in the position to get the ball out at halftime. I think we were down eight [points]. We were right where we wanted to be.”

But, he added, “After starting slow we weren’t able to make enough big plays today to come out with the win.”

Michigan couldn’t match Penn State’s dynamic offense, spearheaded by quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley strengthened his bid as a Heisman Trophy candidate with 3 touchdowns, including a highlight-reel scoring catch in the fourth quarter in which he bobbled the ball into the end zone.

Michigan had no answer for McSorley (282 yards passing), Barkley (176 all-purpose yards) or Penn State’s offense when it broke the game open in the fourth quarter.

While O’Korn showed more poise, he had little room to take chances to help Michigan make any substantial movement; Penn State loaded the box, which limited Michigan on the run and forced it to pass.

O’Korn did just enough to manage the game. Not to win the game, but to control the offense, which finished with a scant 269 yards. O’Korn’s longest throw was 24 yards, on third-and-7 from the Michigan 32-yard-line in the fourth quarter. That was also Michigan’s longest play.

The Wolverines gained an average of 3.8 yards a play against the Nittany Lions — who averaged 8.3 yards a play.

“We weren’t able to make big plays tonight,” O’Korn said. “We put drives together. We were moving the ball nicely. The big plays were just missing.”

The post Michigan’s offense remains minimal with QB John O’Korn appeared first on Land of 10.

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