Bill O’Brien scores the biggest win of his regime

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It was the biggest win of the Bill O’Brien era at Penn State.

And probably one of the most exciting wins of his NFL and college football career. Although he certainly won some big games with the New England Patriots. Still, this one had major style points.

Another Bill, running back Bill Belton scored on 2-yard run on the fourth possession of overtime to get PSU a big win over previously unbeaten #16 Michigan. Sure, the Wolverines may have been the most unimpressive 5-0 team in Big Ten history, with some real ugly Ws amongst those five, but this is still a tremendous success for Bill O’Brien and his program.

Maybe he’ll be in a much better mood on conference call this week.

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Penn State improves to 4-2, 1-1 Big Ten. Belton accrued 86 rushing yards while freshman QB Christian Hackenberg threw for over 300 yards..

Devin Gardner once again did Devin Gardner things, committing three early turnovers but also scoring three touchdowns. He had a QBR of just 45.7, but also rushed for a career-high 121 yards, and put up 361 of total offense. Michigan had 389 total. As much as this loss hurts Michigan, it hurts their bitter arch-rival Ohio State too. UM was the last remaining ranked team on the Buckeyes extremely soft schedule.

Now who will OSU draw schedule strength from to have a legitimate shot at playing in the national title game? Sure, OSU might go undefeated, but who will the Buckeyes have actually played?

Michigan PK Brendan Gibbons missed 51-yard field goal at the end of regulation, had a 40-yarder blocked that would have won the game in the first overtime and missed a 33-yarder that would have won the game in the third. Penn State missed two FGs in OT that would have won it as well.

And we only got all this bonus football because PSU tied the score with 27 seconds remaining after beginning the drive on their 20 with less than a minute to go. And no one saw this upset coming. Most people expected Bill O’Brien ‘s team to get rolled by the Wolverines in Happy Valley today. It was a bigger win than any of the eight Bill O’Brien had in 2012.

The other main takeaway I have from this game is the emergence of Hackenberg. He’s developing quite quickly into one of the best passers in the Big Ten. Maybe the best, as he really doesn’t have all that much competition in the league.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and Facebook, subscribe to his RSS feed here

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