ANN ARBOR — Michigan won its last game against Penn State, 42-7, at home in 2018, but that’s not the meeting that senior Josh Metellus remembers most.
The anguish the 6-foot, 218-pound safety felt after the second-ranked Nittany Lions rolled to a 42-13 victory at Beaver Stadium in 2017 still lingers.
Metellus and the 16th-ranked Wolverines will get a shot at redemption against No. 7 Penn State in Happy Valley at 7:30 p.m. (ABC).
“We ain’t finished the payback,” Metellus told reporters inside Schembechler Hall on Tuesday night. “Losing there still hurts, regardless of if we won last year. Last time we was there, we lost, so we got nothing to show for it being there. It is still the same for revenge going back into their place.”
The circumstances are nearly identical to 2017. It will be another ‘Whiteout’ game in prime time, with the one-loss Wolverines looking to knock off the undefeated Nittany Lions.
“I like it,” Metellus said. “It is going to help me bring back my same emotion I felt leaving that game. Basically, everybody else that was here, we are going to have that same emotion once we get into that atmosphere, once we see what is going on and feel the big stage. I feel like everyone is going to come out to play.”
The 2017 loss essentially took Michigan out of the Big Ten title race. It lost three more games that season and finished 8-5.
Metellus, who has 29 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery this season, knows the Wolverines’ Big Ten championship chances also hinge on Saturday’s outcome.
“I just hate losing,” he said. “Every loss sticks with me. That one really stuck, because that could have been a real defining part in our season. We lost that game and went downhill from there.
“Every game is for real. We already got a loss. We can’t afford another one, so every game we play, Saturday at noon, 3:30, or 7:30, it is a defining moment in our season.”
Saturday will be the Michigan defense’s biggest challenge since a 35-14 loss at Wisconsin on Sept. 21.
The Wolverines have given up just 28 points in three games since, allowing just 223 yards per game during that stretch.
“We feel a lot better,” Metellus said. “We just feeling like we are getting back to our roots. We know we have a lot of guys who can play football. We all know what we are capable of doing. We just feeling like the team is coming together. We are playing more as a team. We are trusting each other and each other’s abilities.”