No. 4 Michigan beats Michigan State 29-7 to stay undefeated

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Blake Corum ran for 177 yards and scored twice, and Jake Moody made five field goals to help No. 4 Michigan remain unbeaten with a 29-7 win over Michigan State on Saturday night.

The Wolverines (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) scored 26 straight points after falling behind briefly late in the first quarter.

The Spartans (3-5, 1-4) went 0 for 2 on fourth down in the first half. They turned it over on downs after a review of a spot and after coach Mel Tucker chose to go for it instead of kicking a short field goal to tie the game midway through the second quarter.

Michigan led 13-7 at halftime and kept control in the second half, outgaining Michigan State 133-8 in the third quarter.

Moody, the reigning Lou Groza Award winner given to the nation’s top place kicker, made a career-long 54-yarder for his fifth field goal to put the Wolverines ahead 22-7 early in the fourth.

Corum, who started the game with an FBS-high 13 touchdowns, scored for a second time on a 4-yard run after Michigan State had trouble with a snap on a punt.

With a 29-7 lead in the final minutes, coach Jim Harbaugh showed no mercy against his in-state rival by calling for J.J. McCarthy to throw deep down the field.

McCarthy was 15 of 25 for 167 yards with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Corum.

Payton Thorne was 17 of 30 for 215 yards with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman that gave the Spartans a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter. Thorne also threw an interception late in the game.

Coleman finished with five catches for 155 yards and a score.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan State: Mistakes were costly in a game the Spartans had to be nearly flawless to win, starting with offensive tackle Jarrett Horst drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to stunt the opening drive.

Michigan: Harbaugh’s team stayed on track for its showdown in less than a month on the road against second-ranked Ohio State, with the winner potentially representing the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Michigan Will Likely keep its spot at No. 4 in the AP Top 25.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Plays No. 17 Illinois on the road, hosts Rutgers and Indiana, and closes the regular season at No. 13 Penn State, needing to win three of four games to be bowl eligible.

Michigan: Travels to face Rutgers, hosts Nebraska and No. 17 Illinois, and plays the Buckeyes on Nov. 26 on the road.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

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SEATTLE – Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. said Sunday he will return to the school for his sixth and final season of eligibility in 2023.

Penix announced his decision on social media and it was a surprising one at that. Penix was the national leader in passing this season, throwing for 4,354 yards and led Washington’s turnaround. The No. 12-ranked Huskies went 10-2 in the regular season, finished tied for second in the Pac-12 and will face No. 21 Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Penix will have a chance at setting Washington’s single-season record for yards passing in the bowl game. He also threw 29 touchdowns this season. Because of his performance this season, Penix saw his NFL draft stock rise to where he was being expected to be a second-day pick at the latest.

In his announcement, Penix wrote, “As I look back on this special season we had, I realized there were so many great moments and things to celebrate, but I KNOW there is so much for out there for this team and the job is still not finished. I can’t wait to be playing in Husky Stadium for the 2023 season!”

Penix started his career at Indiana and showed flashes of stardom while also battling injuries. He transferred to Washington after the 2021 season, a move that reunited him with new Huskies’ coach Kalen DeBoer, who was Penix’s offensive coordinator for one season at Indiana.

North Texas fires Littrell after .500 record over 7 years

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DENTON, Texas – Bowl-bound North Texas has fired coach Seth Littrell, who went 44-44 over seven seasons.

University president Neal Smatresk said Sunday night that the decision to make the move came after a thorough assessment of the program.

The Mean Green are 7-6 this season after losing 48-27 to UTSA in the Conference USA championship game Friday night.

Phil Bennett, their defensive coordinator the past two seasons, was named interim head coach. North Texas plays Boise State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 17.

The 44-year-old Littrell had one year left on his contract in what was his first head coaching job. He was the youngest coach in Conference USA and one of the youngest at the FBS level when he arrived after two seasons as offensive coordinator at North Carolina with UNT coming off a 1-11 season at the time.

While the Mean Green are going to their sixth bowl since Littrell first got there, they haven’t won any of those yet. The bowl in his debut season came after only five wins since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of the slots. Consecutive nine-win seasons followed in 2017 and 2018, but they then had three consecutive losing records before this year.

North Texas also has an interim athletic director after Wren Baker was named as West Virginia’s AD last week.

Smatresk said Jared Mosley, the chief operating officer of UNT athletics, will serve as interim AD. The university is working with a search firm to find Baker’s successor.