Browns will have scouting presence at MI vs. Penn State

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With an off week to prepare, Penn State didn't let up.

Before Michigan football started its season, the Penn State game was one that was circled.

At the end of the first half against MI on Saturday, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley scored a touchdown on a keeper.

Senior quarterback Trace McSorley also had an impressive performance, throwing for 282 yards through the air, including one passing touchdown and three rushing.

MI football is going to have its hands full with second-ranked Penn State.

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Penn State's Heisman Trophy frontrunner took a snap in the Wildcat formation on the second play of the game and dashed 69 yards for a touchdown to spark an early flurry that propelled the second-ranked Nittany Lions to a 42-13 victory over No. 19 MI before a record crowd of 110,823. Thirteen months after Penn State lost to MI by 39 on the road in the Big House, it took less than a minute for a new tone in the series to be set: On the second play of the game, Heisman candidate tailback Saquon Barkley took a direct snap and burst past a confused Wolverines defense for a 69-yard touchdown. There might not be a playoff appearance at all for the Nittany Lions without a win in Columbus, Ohio, next Saturday afternoon.

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. Penn State outgained MI 302-141 in the first half and never looked back from there. The Wolverines pieced together two touchdown drives and cut the deficit to 14-13 with 1:45 left in the half. His tight end, Mike Gesicki, responded by running up to him while he wasn't looking and playing leapfrog on him.

And now we advance to what could be the game of the year in the Big Ten, with no disrespect meant to the fine folks in Madison, Wisconsin. But a loss to Penn State would basically end any hopes MI has of a Big Ten championship.

MI will close out the month at home next week when Rutgers travels to the Big House.

This Big Ten East race is just heating up.