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Gameday Observations: Michigan State

Few things went as planned when Penn State football ventured up north to take on No. 12 Michigan State this weekend. Another Nittany Lions loss is no fun at all, but a snowy game up in East Lansing gave viewers at home quite the spectacle.

Onward State didn’t make the trip to Michigan this weekend, but we still noticed a few noteworthy things from the couch. Here are our final regular-season gameday observations:

Road Whites Turn Into Camouflage

Penn State always wears white on the road, but this weekend’s weather brought the uniform combo to new heights.

A decent layer of snow on the field at Spartan Stadium made the Nittany Lions nearly invisible throughout the game. That didn’t stop Sean Clifford from finding targets downfield, but it did make for some interesting views for fans.

Bad Broadcast

A lot of these observations are going to involve Saturday’s snow, so just roll with it, OK?

Anyway, the game’s broadcast on ABC this weekend was just about miserable all around. The most frustrating part was the crew’s lack of effort to show where the yellow first-down markers should be throughout the game. Of course, Sean McDonough and Penn State letterman Todd Blackledge didn’t help fans at home when they regularly neglected to even say where the ball was on the field.

Additionally, Saturday’s broadcast seemed strangely quiet. Perhaps Michigan State’s crowd noise was just that loud, but the Penn State broadcast felt far quieter than the Virginia-Virginia Tech game I flipped over to whenever Penn State made me feel sick.

Did James Franklin Ice His Own Kicker?

Late in the first half, a timeout momentarily stopped Penn State’s Jordan Stout from kicking a field goal to potentially tie the game 17-17. However, the whistle unexpectedly came from the Nittany Lions’ own sideline.

Stout wound up missing the field goal (his seventh whiff of the year). Fans on Twitter quickly erupted and claimed that Franklin, for some reason, chose to take a timeout, “ice” his kicker, and miss out on the points.

However, it’s really unlikely that the iced kick, should you call it that, was a product of a timeout. Penn State used the timeout to clear off some snow on the hash to set up an easier attempt for Stout. Either way, it’s tough to ice a 27-yard field goal — especially when your kicker’s got a rocket for a leg like Stout does.

Snowballs Fly In Spartan Stadium

According to an in-stadium announcement from a hot mic, it seems some fans at Spartan Stadium were throwing snowballs at Penn State’s bench throughout Saturday’s game.

As The Athletic‘s Audrey Snyder posted, Franklin called for security and stadium assistance as snowballs entered the Nittany Lions’ sideline. Penn State’s head coach has plenty of experience dodging paintball bullets, so perhaps he wasn’t too concerned by incoming snowballs.

Yule Log

Frankly, I thought Spartan Stadium’s Yule log was adorable. Michigan State’s gameday crew broadcasted the beloved television program (and Christmas tradition) on the jumbotron for a long while before kickoff on Saturday.

Unfortunately, the virtual fire didn’t do much to warm up a cold afternoon in East Lansing. Temperatures hovered around 30 degrees throughout the game, according to AccuWeather. Nearly 4 inches of snow fell, too.

Goodbye, LGT

Following a noble (albeit heartbreaking) defeat, Penn State kissed the almighty Land-Grant Trophy goodbye this weekend.

Penn State fans likely know the legendary 76.2-pound hunk of glory pretty well since Penn State claimed it in 2019 and 2020. However, seeing it wind up in the Spartans’ hands only added insult to injury following another ugly showing for the Nittany Lions.

On the bright side, head coach Mel Tucker made sure to acknowledge the Land-Grant Trophy after the game and said winning it meant a lot to his team. Treat her well, Sparty.

Until next time, LGT…

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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