Sat, 22 Jan 2022

No. 12 Michigan State hangs on to beat Penn State

Field Level Media
28 Nov 2021, 10:19 GMT+10

Payton Thorne passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another as No. 12 Michigan State defeated visiting Penn State 30-27 at snowy East Lansing, Mich., on Saturday.

Kenneth Walker III rushed for 138 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown for the Spartans (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten), who lost 56-7 to Ohio State the previous game.

Sean Clifford threw three touchdown passes, including two to Jahan Dotson, for the Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-5). Daequan Hardy had a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown for Penn State, which lost five of its last seven regular season games.

The Spartans led 17-14 at halftime.

Michigan State took the opening kickoff and drove 76 yards for a touchdown. Walker, who was questionable to play due to an ankle injury, picked up the last two yards. Thorne's 40-yard pass to Maliq Carr set up the score.

The Spartans' next possession was even more impressive. They drove 99 yards in nine plays to take a 14-0 lead. Walker got them away from their goal line with a 35-yard scamper. Thorne's 9-yard pass to Tre Mosley capped it off.

Penn State answered the next time it had the ball. Clifford, who departed the Nittany Lions' 28-0 win over Rutgers a week earlier with flu-like symptoms, connected with Dotson from 27 yards out.

After Michigan State was forced to punt from deep in its territory, the Nittany Lions tied it on Clifford's 30-yard touchdown pass to Dotson early in the second quarter.

Matt Coghlin's 22-yard field goal gave the Spartans a 17-14 lead. Penn State's Jordan Stout missed a 27-yard field goal attempt in the final minute.

Penn State took the lead less than four minutes into the second half on Hardy's 27-yard interception return. The extra point was missed.

The Spartans regained the lead on Thorne's 1-yard plunge with 2:14 left in the quarter. They also missed the point after.

Following a Nittany Lions turnover, Jayden Reed made a leaping grab in the end zone of a Thorne pass on 4th-and15. That 20-yard touchdown gave the Spartans a 10-point lead with 5:10 remaining.

--Field Level Media

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