Ryan’s return sparks UM linebacker corps

Combine to make 30 tackles, a sack in 1st half

Penn State’s Jordan Lucas, left, falls out of bounds after being tackled by Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon after inter-cepting a pass during the first quarter.
Penn State’s Jordan Lucas, left, falls out of bounds after being tackled by Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon after inter-cepting a pass during the first quarter.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Brady Hoke answered the question of Jake Ryan dressing against Penn State on Friday night.

Less than 24 hours later, the redshirt junior linebacker was in uniform for the Wolverines and participated in pregame warmups Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Then Ryan played in his first game of the season and made two tackles in the first half against the Nittany Lions.

With Ryan back in the mix, Michigan’s linebackers combined for 30 tackles and one sack but had little control over the halftime score; the Wolverines turned the ball over three times in the first half, which allowed Penn State to take a 21-10 lead at halftime.

Hoke said Monday that doctors had cleared Ryan to resume playing, but that he and Ryan would decide if the linebacker would resume playing.

In a video posted Friday on MGoBlue.com, the Michigan athletic department’s Web site, Hoke said Ryan would dress for Saturday’s game, but said his playing status had not been determined.

“We will see if he plays,” Hoke said.

Ryan missed the Wolverines’ first five games this season as he underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee in the spring. The second-team All-Big Ten selection led the Wolverines with 88 tackles and 4½ sacks in 2012.

TURNED OVER: A week after a turnover-free win over Minnesota, Michigan couldn’t go five minutes into Saturday’s game without giving up the ball. On third-and-8 from the Michigan 21, Penn State cornerback Jordan Lucas intercepted quarterback Devin Gardner’s pass, which was intended for Jeremy Gallon.

With Gallon clinging to him, Lucas returned the ball to the Wolverines 12, which set up Penn State’s first touchdown two plays later and gave the Nittany Lions a 7-0 lead.

With the Wolverines leading 10-7, Penn State defensive end Anthony Zettel intercepted Gardner and returned the ball to the Wolverines 20, which set up Jesse James’ touchdown catch 3 minutes, 31 seconds into the second quarter.

LEWAN HURT: Left tackle Taylor Lewan, who returned to Michigan instead of opting for the 2012 NFL draft, was injured during the second quarter and was taken to the locker room for examination by trainers.

RED ZONE SUCCESS: Two of Penn State’s first-half touchdowns came inside the Wolverines’ 20-yard line — and the red zone has been an area of expertise for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State entered the game 17 for 18 in the red zone in its first five games this season, ranking 13th in the NCAA, tied with Utah and Stanford (94 percent), and third in the Big Ten, behind Northwestern (24 for 25) and Minnesota (21 for 22).

PATERNO VIGIL: The Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call reported on Friday that a group of Penn State alumni and fans planned to hold a candlelight vigil following the Michigan-Penn State game.

The vigil was set to begin at a memorial of flowers and signs constructed on the east side of Beaver Stadium, where a statue of Joe Paterno once stood but was taken down last summer, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

The memorial simply read “409” — in reference to the number of career wins that Paterno earned as head coach, before Penn State had to forfeit 111 in the wake of NCAA sanctions relating to the Sandusky case.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.