ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Penn State snapped its skid at the Big House.
Daryll Clark threw three of his four touchdown passes to Graham Zug, helping the 13th-ranked Nittany Lions rout Michigan 35-10 Saturday for their first win in Ann Arbor since 1996.
“It’s nice to finally win here,” linebacker Sean Lee said.
The Nittany Lions (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) looked helpless on the opening drive as the Wolverines (5-3, 1-3) went on a 70-yard TD drive.
Joe Paterno wasn’t worried.
“We felt we were all right,” Penn State’s coach said after extending his record with a 390th victory.
Everyone else found out soon the Nittany Lions were going to be just fine.
Clark connected with Zug on Penn State’s first possession to tie it.
He threw two more TD passes to Zug in the third quarter, giving Penn State a 32-10 lead that it had until taking 10-plus minutes off the clock and kicking a field goal in the fourth.
Clark said Michigan looked confused.
“A couple plays, they had trouble lining up,” he said.
Michigan didn’t fare much better on offense. The Wolverines had their lowest scoring total of the year, a season-low 250 yards and turned the ball over four times.
“It’s disappointing,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “It starts us with as coaches.”
Tate Forcier was 13 of 30 for 140 yards and an interception. Denard Robinson was 0 for 2 with an interception and fumbled.
Clark was 16 of 27 for 230 yards and tied his record for TD passes.
Zug, a former walk-on, caught five passes for 59 yards and surpassed the total of TD receptions he had previously this season and all of last year.
“He isn’t one you put a clock on and he lights it up, but he knows how to read routes,” Paterno said.
Evan Royster ran for 100 yards, and Penn State is 10-0 when he reaches that mark.
Forcier threw a lot of poor passes and when he was on target, his teammates often dropped the ball.
“I think we beat ourselves, and a lot of that is on me,” Forcier said.
Brandon Minor ran for a 1-yard TD to cap the first drive and finished with just 48 yards rushing and Carlos Brown ran for 35 yards.
After the blowout, the Nittany Lions went to a corner of Michigan Stadium to celebrate with hundreds of their fans.
Penn State’s last win in Ann Arbor was 13 years ago, then it lost nine straight in the series before beating Michigan 46-17 last season at home.
“I’ve had some good memories here,” Paterno insisted.
What started off as an interesting game turned into a lopsided matchup.
The Wolverines became the first team to score a TD against the Nittany Lions in the first half this season.
Then, Penn State moved the ball at will the first time it had the ball — and on many drives after that.
Michigan couldn’t keep up offensively and its defense left too many receivers open for Clark to find through the air and failed to stop Royster on the ground.
“Their main coverage this year is man and they didn’t do much to disguise coverage,” he said.
Penn State went ahead 10-7 on its second drive, got a safety when a shotgun snap sailed past Forcier and through the end zone in the second quarter and took a 12-point lead on Clark’s 60-yard pass to tight end Andrew Quarless two plays later.
Michigan was shut out in the second half, leaving college football’s winningest program still one win away from being eligible for a bowl after losing a third straight Big Ten game.
“People aren’t going to remember this,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “They are going to remember how we finish.”
Michigan lost a school-record nine games last season and didn’t earn a bowl bid for the first time in three-plus decades.
The Nittany Lions kept their hopes alive to end the season in a marquee bowl, but knew their loss to Iowa put them in a position to root for teams such as Michigan State later on Saturday night to knock off the undefeated Hawkeyes, who scored a touchdown on the game’s final play to win 15-13.
“I’ll be sure to check the ticker,” Clark said.