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No. 11 Penn State Football Silences Michigan State 42-0 In Detroit

No. 11 Penn State football (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) shut out Michigan State (4-8, 2-7 Big Ten) 42-0 Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

The Nittany Lions had trouble on offense to begin the game, as they didn’t find the end zone until late in the second quarter despite multiple explosive plays and two field goals. However, Manny Diaz’s defense kept the Spartans at bay, as the visitors took a 13-0 lead into halftime.

Penn State’s offense got into a groove even more in the second half, as it scored 29 more points. The defense once again played lights-out, and the Nittany Lions won 42-0 to keep the Land-Grant Trophy in Happy Valley.

How It Happened

Kaytron Allen ripped an eight-yard run to begin the game. Then, Drew Allar completed a 14-yard pass to Dante Cephas to refresh the downs. He hit Allen with a screen pass, who bobbled the ball but wound up making the catch for an 11-yard gain, which put Penn State across midfield at the 42-yard line. The drive was in limbo at 3rd-and-9 three plays later, but Allar extended it with a 13-yard pass to Theo Johnson. It was the last completion of the sequence, as he was sacked for a seven-yard loss on 3rd-and-7. Alex Felkins’ 49-yard attempt barely made it through the goalposts, and the Nittany Lions grabbed a 3-0 lead with 9:50 left in the first quarter.

Alante Brown had a three-yard end-around carry to open Michigan State’s inaugural drive. Katin Houser completed a pass to Nate Carter to set up 3rd-and-4, and then found Christian Fitzpatrick for an 11-yard completion to extend the drive. Houser fired a 30-yard pass to Montorie Foster Jr. two plays later, who was brought down at Penn State’s 31-yard line. Then, on 3rd-and-8, the promising drive came to a screeching halt as Detroit native Jaylen Reed intercepted Houser’s pass at the nine-yard line, prompting audible cheering from the small Penn State crowd.

Penn State’s momentum continued, as Allen exploded for a 50-yard gain all the way to Michigan State’s 41-yard line for his longest run of the season. Allar found Cephas again for a 13-yard gain, but after a false start and two more carries from Allen, Penn State found itself facing 3rd-and-7. The Nittany Lions ran it again, but this time with Nick Singleton, who only mustered two yards. This time, Felkins’ attempt was unsuccessful to end an anti-climatic drive.

The Spartans took over at the 23-yard line. Houser dropped back and nearly hit Maliq Carr deep, but KJ Winston barely broke it up. The defense forced a three-and-out despite Nate Carter’s eight-yard run the next play, which caused the Spartans to punt.

Starting at the 16-yard line, Allen passed it to Singleton, who had his own signature play in a 53-yard rush to end the opening quarter. Three plays later, he fired a 22-yard pass to Johnson to set up 1st-and-goal at the nine-yard line. Yet once again, the drive stalled as Allar was sacked on 3rd-and-goal. However, Felkins capped off the eight-play drive with a field goal to extend the lead to 6-0 with 12:11 left in the second quarter.

The lack of offense continued, as Michigan State went three-and-out again. With help from a holding call against Geno VanDeMark, the Nittany Lions were in an advantageous position as Carr’s four-yard reception was the drive’s only gain. It ended with Curtis Jacobs sacking Houser for a 10-yard loss at the Spartans’ 24-yard line.

After his two-yard rush, Singleton made a 15-yard catch for a new set of downs. Two plays later, he ripped another impressive 20-yard gain to Michigan State’s 24-yard line. After an 11-yard pass to Dinkins and two runs by Singleton and Allen, Penn State reached 1st-and-goal at the one-yard line. The drive nearly stalled, but Allar hit a wide-open Allen on the right side for a two-yard completion on 3rd-and-goal to take a 13-0 lead with 4:51 left in the half.

Carter bulldozed into the defense, but was brought down by Dani Dennis-Sutton for an eight-yard gain. He ran the same distance on the next play, refreshing the downs as the clock ticked. As he was hit, Houser fired a 29-yard pass to Carr on 3rd-and-5, who was tackled at Penn State’s 25-yard line. However, an intentional grounding call helped Penn State get a crucial stop, which forced Michigan State to punt.

Once again, the Nittany Lions started in subpar field position at the six-yard line. However, they quickly escaped it with Allar’s 14-yard pass to Tyler Warren. Then, Trey Potts went off for a 28-yard gain to the 48-yard line. The drive stalled, as an incompletion, a dropped pass, and only a five-yard gain from Potts prompted Penn State to punt with under a minute left in the half. The Spartans let the clock run out, and the Nittany Lions took a 13-0 lead into the break.

Michigan State had a rough outing to open the second half, as Jaren Mangham’s one-yard rush was its only gain. Abdul Carter sacked Houser for a nine-yard loss on the next play, and he threw out of a sack to hand the Spartans another three-and-out.

Allar completed a nine-yard pass to Cephas to begin Penn State’s opening drive of the third quarter. Then, he faked the handoff to Allen and tossed a 22-yard dot to KeAndre Lambert-Smith for his first reception in nearly two weeks. Beau Pribula entered the game two plays later, and the team amassed six yards over the next couple of plays. Then, on 1st-and-goal at the eight-yard line, Pribula found Warren for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Then, Allar fired a pass to Lambert-Smith for a successful two-point conversion to make it 21-0 with 10:13 left in the third quarter.

Michigan State had a promising start to its next drive, as a 12-yard rush by Carter put it at its own 41-yard line. However, Penn State’s defense blitzed after a mishandled snap, which dropped the Spartans back to their 21-yard line. Despite being on 3rd-and-long, Carter rushed for six yards, which prompted his team to punt again.

Facing 3rd-and-6, Allar scrambled right for eight yards to extend the drive. Then, with time and space, he launched a 60-yard missile that landed in the hands of Omari Evans, who was brought down just shy of the end zone. Pribula re-entered the game, and he waltzed into the end zone from the two-yard line to give Penn State a 28-0 lead with 4:13 left in the third quarter.

After another Michigan State three-and-out, Penn State took over at the 29-yard line. Three rushes from Allen were enough for a first down, but the drive stalled over the next three plays and the Nittany Lions punted for the first time of the half.

One drive later, Penn State found the end zone again. It took only four plays for Drew Allar to hit Johnson with a 21-yard pass in the end zone to extend the lead to 35-0 with 12:29 left in the fourth quarter.

Penn State’s defense’s dominance continued. Houser’s two-yard rush was the only gain on the drive, which Cam Miller slammed shut when he blitzed to drop Houser back 11 yards near Michigan State’s goal line.

Allen opened the drive with a bang, as he went off for a 40-yard gain. Singleton rushed for four yards over the next two plays, and then, he rushed through a wide-open gap up the middle and into the end zone to give Penn State a 42-0 lead with 7:58 left in the game.

The clock ticked away from then on out, and neither team scored the rest of the game. “We Are” chants were audible as the clock ticked away, and Penn State won 42-0.

Takeaways

  • The offense flourished, with 586 total yards and five touchdowns. The quarterback play and running game were balanced successfully throughout the night, which is an indication the offense may have finally figured itself out given Mike Yurcich’s firing two weeks ago.
  • Singleton and Allen had arguably their most productive game of the season with 231 combined rushing yards and two total touchdowns. They were successfully utilized in both the ground and passing game and consistently ran through gaps. In fact, Singleton ripped a season-high 53-yard gain.
  • Additionally, Penn State’s two-quarterback package with Allar and Pribula flourished, as it was featured in multiple scoring drives during the second half. Allar consistently lobbed it up or handed it off to a tailback to get into the red zone, and Pribula finished the job twice – proving his mobility to be effective.
  • Per usual, the defense was lights out. Although Jaylen Reed had a crucial interception in the red zone, the success was especially evident in the front seven. The Nittany Lions chased Houser all night, with seven sacks and four hurries, while making 12 tackles for loss in the meantime.

What’s Next

This concludes Penn State’s 2023 regular season. The Nittany Lions are likely heading to another New Year’s Six games, but an official announcement of which bowl game they’ll play in will come early next month.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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