Not only did the teams have to find ways to kill all of that time before the game could resume, but it allowed another important Big Ten game — Ohio State’s 3:30 p.m. kick at Iowa — to play out concurrently.
The PSU-MSU game, which started at noon, resumed in the second quarter around 4:40 p.m. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Iowa was well on its way to upsetting the then-No. 6 Buckeyes. An Ohio State loss all of a sudden upped the stakes for both Penn State and Michigan State in the Big Ten East — but the MSU players were unaware of what was going on in Iowa City.
That was until a Penn State player, star running back Saquon Barkley, told them so.
Listen to how MSU linebackers Chris Frey and and Joe Bachie described hearing the news from Barkley in the fourth quarter:
“I think we were midway through the fourth quarter and I was covering Saquon Barkley down the field and he actually, after the play, was like, ‘You know Ohio State’s losing. They’re down big. We’re playing for a championship right now,’” Frey said. “I kind of just laughed. I didn’t know they had lost at that point but I knew they were down big.”
Added Bachie: “Yeah, I was standing right there. That’s when I found out, too.”
That quote from Frey moved around Twitter after the game Saturday and many assumed Barkley was talking a bit of trash by saying we’re — as in Penn State only — playing for a championship.
Barkley is known to have a bright, bubbly personality. The way Frey and Bachie described it sounds like Barkley meant the “we” to represent both Penn State and Michigan State’s chances to win the Big Ten East based on the outcome of Saturday’s game.
The game was likely tied 24-24 when Barkley said that to Frey, so things could have gone in either direction. In the end, the Spartans came out on top with a last-second field goal to win 27-24.
Michigan State now travels to Ohio State on Saturday. The winner of that game will seize control of the Big Ten East and take the inside track to play for the Big Ten Championship. If Penn State won, it would have been the only team with just one loss in the division and its College Football Playoff hopes would still be alive.
Now, the conference’s CFP hopes seem to fall solely on the shoulders of the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers.
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