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Penn State Football Exorcises Michigan State Demons In 28-7 Victory

Penn State football beat Michigan State for the first time since 2016 and just the second time this decade in its 28-7 victory at Spartan Stadium on Saturday night.

You can argue that the Nittany Lions’ last two defeats to Michigan State in particular were the most gut-wrenching for Penn State in the series’ history. Both came off the back of one-point defeats to Ohio State, and the Spartans put up the game-winning points in the final 20 seconds of each game. Matt Coghlin’s buzzer-beating field goal at Spartan Stadium sank Penn State’s College Football Playoff hopes in 2017 before Felton Davis did the same by hauling in a 25-yard touchdown with 19 seconds to play at Beaver Stadium.

Although starting quarterback Sean Clifford downplayed the significance of the victory by pulling the team’s “1-0 this week” mantra, sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons wasn’t shy about the significance of this victory.

“We definitely had to show up,” Parsons said. “We lost two close ones to these guys in the last two years. It’s something I emphasized during the offseason — it’s a retribution year. We’re trying to redeem our close ones that we lost, and we’re a better team now than we were last year.”

Parsons, of course, was referring to the “retribution year” tweet he sent out immediately after Penn State lost the 2019 Citrus Bowl to Kentucky. The term itself is a somewhat-subtle nod to Michigan’s famous “revenge tour” that took place throughout the 2018 season. The Nittany Lions’ retribution “tour” is off to a flying start because they’ve successfully avenged 2018 defeats to Michigan and Michigan State in the past two weeks.

In most cases, head coach James Franklin shoots down any mention of things like past records against particular teams with his “1-0 this week” mantra. However, he addressed the Nittany Lions’ previous struggles against Michigan State during his post-game press conference.

“This is a tough place to come win,” Franklin said. “Obviously, we’re aware of [Penn State’s track record at Michigan State] as coaches and players. We didn’t address it with the team — we did talk briefly about some of those things — but I’m a process-oriented guy. We don’t talk about rankings, whatever the challenges may be, but those things are all real.”

Saturday’s game was very emotional, which was fully displayed by Penn State’s nine penalties for 104 yards. Lamont Wade and Jaquan Brisker were both assessed unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for taunting at different points in the game, and Antonio Shelton was ejected from the game for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was assessed because he allegedly spit on a Michigan State player.

Franklin was not pleased about these penalties and addressed them “very clear” and “very direct” with the team after the game. Without getting into specifics, junior cornerback Tariq-Castro Fields confirmed that Saturday’s game was, in fact, highly emotional.

“There were little things that transpired, but I don’t want to speak on them much,” Castro-Fields said. “But this is an emotional game played by emotional people.”

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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