Michigan State football outlasted Penn State in a snowy, back-and-forth battle to pick up their 10th win of the year, 30-27, on Saturday. With the win, the Spartans finished the regular season 10-2 and a perfect 6-0 at home.
The Spartans used a fast start and pair of critical turnovers in the fourth quarter to pick up the win. Michigan State’s Heisman contending running back Kenneth Walker III led the Spartans again offensively with 138 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan State got off to a great start, with two scoring drives to open the game and take a 14-0 lead over Penn State. The Spartans’ first score came on a two-yard Walker rushing touchdown — which capped off a 76-yard drive — and the second touchdown came on a reception from Tre Mosley on 3rd-and-goal from nine yards out. The Mosley touchdown was the final play of an incredible 99-yard drive.
The Spartans’ early lead was short-lived, however, with Penn State responding to Michigan State’s fast start. The Nittany Lions scored a pair of touchdowns — both of which coming on receptions from Jahan Dotson — to tie the game back up at 14-14 with 12:11 to go in the second quarter.
Michigan State would take the lead into halftime by the score of 17-14, with the final points of the opening frame coming on a 22-yard field goal from Matt Coghlin.
The second half opened up with the Nittany Lions taking their first lead of the game on a pick-six, but Michigan State was able to respond on the following drive to regain the lead. Michigan State led 23-20 at the end of the third quarter.
Michigan State would add to their lead late in the fourth quarter on a 4th-and-15 touchdown completion from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed. The touchdown was from 20 yards out, and gave the Spartans a 30-20 lead with roughly five minutes to go in the game.
Penn State was able to drive the length of the field to score one more time in the final minute, but their onside kick attempt was recovered by Michigan State to close out the game.
Thorne ended the day 268 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Reed led the Spartans in receiving against Penn State with six receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown.
Michigan State will now wait to see where they’ll be playing in the bowl season. With the win, the Spartans will most likely land in a New Year’s Day bowl game, and potentially a New Year’s Six bowl as an at large. However, we will know for sure next Sunday when the bowl games are revealed.
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