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Spartans Spoil Senior Day

The Michigan State Spartans held off a late Nittany Lion comeback to claim at least a share of their first Big Ten title since 1990 with a 28-22 victory over Penn State Saturday afternoon.

Michigan State began the day with a nine-play, 71-yard drive full of powerful runs by Edwin Baker. On the first play of the game, Baker bolted up the middle for a 16-yard gain and finished the drive with another seven-yard run to the outside to put the first points on the board in front of a half-full student section.

Looking to give the Spartans a taste of their own medicine, the Nittany Lions offered a strong dose of Evan Royster on their opening drive. With a couple of 10-yard runs by Royster and a 25-yard pass to the speedy Devon Smith, it appeared as if the Lions would answer back with a touchdown of their own. However, a delay of game penalty in the red zone put the Nittany Lion offense in passing mode, halting any momentum they had.

“The penalties hurt us,” said a cold Joe Paterno. “But, with having said that, Michigan State is a good, solid football team.”

Settling for a 34-yard, Collin Wagner field goal, the Nittany Lions posted their first points of the day.

After punting away their next position, the Spartans kicked off the second quarter once again behind the strong running of Baker. But a 35-yard double reverse broke the Nittany Lions’ contain and put the Spartans deep into Penn State territory.

Immediately after, quarterback Kirk Cousins found a wide open B.J. Cunningham in the left corner of the end zone to make the score 14-3. After penalties stifled any momentum the Nittany Lions had, Penn State came out in the third quarter with back-to-back three-and-outs before allowing yet another Michigan State touchdown.

Cousins found Cunningham again for a 24-yard touchdown between the weak coverage of Stephon Morris and Malcolm Willis to put the Spartans up 21-3.

Attempting a fourth-quarter comeback, quarterback Matt McGloin needed just over two minutes and 30 seconds and five straight completions to post Penn State’s first touchdown. McGloin’s 25-yard touch pass to fullback Joe Suhey put much-needed life back in the crowd with  a 21-10 score.

However, the Spartans bounced right back with a draining nine-play, 68-yard drive ending with a three-yard touchdown pass from Wildcat back Keith Nichol to tight end Charlie Gantt.

With eight minutes to play, the Penn State offense crafted their best offensive drives of the day. Evan Royster took the handoff for a 10-yard touchdown to chip away at the Spartan’s lead.

Focusing on running out the clock, running back Edwin Baker, who led the Spartans with 118 rushing yards, coughed up a fumble to give Penn State new life with two minutes to play.

McGloin got back to work finding his favorite target, Derek Moye, for a four-yard touchdown to make the score 28-22, but the fourth-quarter points were a couple minutes too late to make a difference. A Collin Wagner onside kick was recovered by the Spartans to ultimately seal the fate on the Nittany Lions’ 7-5 season.

About the Author

Tim Owen

I am originally from a very small town in northeastern Pennsyltucky, called Athens. Currently, I am enrolled in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism and major in print journalism.

I have a passion for sports, and more specifically football. I enjoy hunting, cooking, food, and everything Penn State!

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