UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Sean Clifford threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead No. 7 Penn State to a 28-21 win over No. 16 Michigan on Saturday night.
The Nittany Lions quarterback hit KJ Hamler on 25- and 53-yard scoring strikes and hooked up with Pat Freiermuth for a 17-yard touchdown in a game in which Penn State (7-0, 4-0) never trailed.
Hamler, who had a 100-yard kickoff return to start the second half called back on a holding penalty, finished with six catches for 108 yards.
The Wolverines battled back from a 21-7 halftime deficit and with just over two minutes to play, had a chance to tie the score on fourth-and-goal from Penn State's 3. But Michigan wideout Ronnie Bell dropped what would've been the tying touchdown.
The Wolverines dropped to 1-8 under coach Jim Harbaugh on the road against ranked teams.
Following halftime, ESPN's Maria Taylor said Harbaugh told her, "This will be our finest hour."
It very nearly was. Michigan proved that it had fight, that it was tougher than people anticipated.
But the Wolverines will fly back to Ann Arbor with their second loss of the season, their Big Ten title hopes all but extinguished.
And for Harbaugh, the question of whether he can win the biggest games will continue to follow him.