Clifford hit Hamler for a 53-yard touchdown to increase Penn State's lead by two touchdowns with 13:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It didn't take long for Hamler to make it up to him.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 28-21 win against MI on Saturday while the Spartans had a bye last week, which followed a 34-10 loss at Ohio State and a 38-0 defeat at Wisconsin.
Clifford wasn't surprised to see the nearest MI defender almost 10 yards behind Hamler, who finished with six catches for 108 yards.
In most circumstances, a 6-4, 319-pound human wouldn't be too hard to find, but as players scattered across the field with the game clock at triple zeros to exchange hugs, handshakes and photos, Hamler finally found Ruiz. He also rushed twice for six yards, returned two kickoffs for 65 yards and three punts.
Worst penalty: With Michigan down 21-14 and about to force a sixth-straight punt, the Wolverines' Lavert Hill was called for holding (on Daniel George) to sustain a PSU possession in the fourth quarter.
"That stop was huge", Penn State coach James Franklin said. This has been a winning game plan for the Nittany Lions and their defense all season, and the same was true Saturday night at Beaver Stadium. Clifford hooked up with Jahan Dotson for 37 yards to set up the scoring toss to Freiermuth who beat Khaleke Hudson in coverage. Hamler at 7:22 of the second quarter made the score 21-0, and it looked like Penn State was going to cruise.
MI surrendered just seven points and 80 yards of offense in the game's final two quarters, and consistently got the ball back into the offense's hands.
The Wolverines cut Penn State's lead to 21-7 with an eight-play drive that burned 4:27 before halftime.
Charbonnet added another 12-yard run with 1:05 left in the third to make it 21-14.
Patterson went 24 for 41 for 276 yards, but did throw an interception. Penn State led 21-0 midway through the second quarter before MI rallied on two 12-yard touchdown runs by Zach Charbonnet and a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Shea Patterson.
Penn State won its second game against a top 25 team in as many weeks, helping to keep the Nittany Lions in stride in the Big Ten East standings with Ohio State.
MI coach Jim Harbaugh criticized the officiating afterward, not happy with the way his receivers were defended on the Wolverines' later possessions. Before the first snap, the Wolverines spent a timeout and, though the Nittany Lions allowed one first down to move toward midfield, they forced a punt soon after, setting the tone early that MI would struggle to move the ball in the first half. "Thought some of our receivers were getting tackled at the end".
Hidden statistic: MI was jittery early.
After a week of waiting for the highly anticipated matchup between Penn State football and MI, the game finally took place.
The Nittany Lions scored three touchdowns in the first half to take a 21-7 lead at intermission, but they were scoreless in the third quarter while MI rallied behind Charbonnet and its defense. Penn State's running game struggled a bit, as Ricky Slade led the team with just 48 rushing yards. No other Penn State running back broke 19 yards. If Harbaugh didn't care about field position, he should have gone for it.
But Penn State's specialist blasted the ball almost 60 yards in the air and gunner Dan Chisena blew Donovan Peoples-Jones up for a loss at his own 10-yard-line. The Michigan quarterback attempted a scramble to the sidelines on the Wolverines' second play from scrimmage, but wasn't quick enough to avoid the wrath of Parsons.
No. 6 Wisconsin lost on a last-second field goal to IL earlier in the day, leaving room for the Nittany Lions to move up with the win.
Things won't get any easier for MI next week, although they will be home to host No. 8 Notre Dame.
Penn State visits Michigan State on Saturday.