Nov 19, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) throws the ball during the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Penn State, Michigan State duel for Land Grant Trophy

With its eyes on a New Year’s Day bowl game, No. 11 Penn State wraps up its regular season Saturday when it welcomes Michigan State to University Park, Pa.

The Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) are locked into third place in the Big Ten East, as the team cannot catch unbeaten rivals Ohio State and Michigan and cannot be caught by the other four teams, a group that includes disappointing Michigan State (5-6, 3-5).

Penn State has won its last three games by a combined margin of 130-24. Coach James Franklin earned his 100th career victory last weekend with a 55-10 romp over Rutgers and feels great about his team’s vibe with the regular season winding down.

“I do think we’ve got good energy. I do think we’ve got good mojo about us right now,” Franklin said. “It’s late in the season. It’s a long season, and there’s times where late in the season can be challenging and a grind on everybody. And it just doesn’t feel like that. Even with the bumps and bruises we’ve got, and we’ve got a bunch of them, the energy’s really good.”

Sean Clifford threw a touchdown and ran for another against Rutgers, while Penn State also scored on a kickoff return and twice more on fumble returns in a dominant overall performance. Now the Nittany Lions will have to avoid looking past the Spartans while remaining focused despite the potential distraction of Senior Day festivities.

“It’s totally fine and acceptable to recognize there are going to be some emotions that go with (Senior Day),” Franklin said. “You try to channel as much as you can.”

Another area of concern for Penn State this weekend will be the absence of top wide receiver Parker Washington (46 catches, 611 yards, two TDs), who is out for the season with an undisclosed injury. In his place, Clifford likely will continue to target Mitchell Tinsley, who posted team highs of five catches and 63 yards against the Scarlet Knights.

Michigan State is coming off a 39-31 double-overtime home loss to Indiana, which entered with a 1-6 conference record. The Spartans could not stop the Hoosiers’ rushing attack (44 carries, 257 yards, four TDs) and lost despite Indiana quarterback Dexter Williams II only completing two passes.

“We’re not gonna cry about it. We haven’t done that yet. We’re not gonna make excuses,” Spartans coach Mel Tucker said. “We’ve got to get it fixed. And one of the most important (parts) is what you do next. … It’s either do that or just quit. We’re not just gonna pack it in.”

Payton Thorne threw two touchdowns for Michigan State, while Elijah Collins ran for 107 yards and two scores. Jalen Berger (21 carries, 119 yards) and Keon Coleman (eight catches, 107 yards, TD) were two other bright spots for the Spartans’ offense.

Michigan State leads the all-time series with Penn State 18-17-1, including a 30-27 win last season. The winner of this annual matchup receives the Land Grant Trophy.

“Obviously we have a lot to play for this week,” Tucker said. “We have a trophy game vs. Penn State, an opportunity to play a top-10 team on the road in a very hostile environment. … And obviously, it’s the next game. And it’s the last regular-season game, guaranteed opportunity for us (to become bowl-eligible). So it’s huge.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;  Michigan State Spartans safety Khalil Majeed (34) tackles Indiana Hoosiers running back Josh Henderson (26) in the second quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana halts slide, rallies past Michigan State in 2OT

Shaun Shivers scored his second rushing touchdown of the game in double overtime and visiting Indiana rallied from a 17-point, second-half deficit to defeat Michigan State 39-31 on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

Shivers gained 115 yards on 13 carries, while quarterback Dexter Williams rushed for 86 yards on 16 carries. Jaylin Lucas had an 88-yard kick return for a touchdown for the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-6 Big Ten), who snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Payton Thorne passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans (5-6, 3-5), who posted 540 yards of total offense but squandered a chance to become bowl eligible. Elijah Collins rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns, Jalen Berger ran for 119 yards on 21 carries and Keon Coleman caught eight passes for 107 yards and a score.

MSU’s Ben Patton, who missed a 22-yard field goal on the final play of regulation, had a 28-yard try blocked after a high snap in the first overtime. The Spartans then blocked Charles Campbell’s 37-yard field goal try to force a second overtime.

After a 24-yard pass from Williams to AJ Barner, Shivers scored from a yard out. Williams then hit Barner for the 2-point conversion for an eight-point lead.

The Spartans got stopped at the 10-yard line on their final possession.

Michigan State scored three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 24-7 halftime lead.

A back shoulder throw by Thorne to Coleman from two yards out in the final minute of the half provided the 17-point advantage.

Shivers gave the Hoosiers some life with his 79-yard scoring run on their first play from scrimmage in the second half.

Michigan State regained a 17-point lead on Collins’ 31-yard run midway through the quarter.

Indiana answered seconds later with Lucas’ 88-yard kick return.

Following a Spartans turnover, the Hoosiers pulled within 31-24 on Campbell’s 40-yard field goal.

Indiana’s Josh Henderson scored on a one yard run with 13 minutes left to tie the game at 31 apiece.

On the final drive, the Spartans had a 4th-and-2 from the Indiana 30 and Thorne hit Maliq Carr for a 5-yard gain to keep the chains moving. But Patton’s 22-yard try went wide left.

–Field Level Media

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy warms up before action against the Michigan State Spartans, Saturday, October 29, 2022.

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No. 4 Michigan stifles Michigan St., 29-7

Blake Corum scored rushing and receiving touchdowns, Jake Moody kicked five field goals and undefeated No. 4 Michigan downed Michigan State 29-7 on Saturday night.

Corum rushed for 177 yards on 33 carries, while quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw for 167 yards and one score for Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten).

The Wolverines outgained the Spartans 276-37 on the ground.

Michigan State (3-5, 1-4) had won the last two meetings against its in-state rival.

Payton Thorne passed for 215 yards, with one touchdown and an interception. Keon Coleman caught five passes for 155 yards and scored the team’s lone touchdown.

The Wolverines led 13-7 at halftime.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker gambled on a fourth-and-1 from his own 46 in the first quarter but Elijah Collins was stopped for no gain.

The Wolverines took advantage of the short field, as Moody kicked a 22-yard field goal. Donovan Edwards had a 28-yard reception during the drive.

Thorne got into a rhythm during the ensuing possession. He connected with Coleman on a 29-yard completion, then hooked up with him again on a 26-yard score with 23 seconds left in the quarter.

Michigan responded with an eight-play, 80-yard drive capped off by McCarthy’s 2-yard pass to Corum, who caught the flip in motion.

The Spartans drove inside Michigan’s 10 on its next drive but once again failed to convert a fourth down, as Jalen Berger was stopped for a 2-yard loss.

The Wolverines had an 86-yard drive before halftime but had to settle for a 25-yard Moody field goal.

Michigan got the ball first in the second half and the possession once again ended in a Moody field goal, this time from 39 yards out.

Moody’s 33-yard field goal later in the quarter made it 19-7.

Moody nailed a career-best 54-yard field goal 15 seconds into the fourth quarter.

A special teams gaffe — a high snap that led to punter Bryce Baringer getting tackled inside his own 10 — led to Corum’s 4-yard touchdown run with 12:47 left.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;  Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Jayden Reed (1) catches a touchdown pass in spite of Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Ricardo Hallman (2) in a second overtime period to win the game, 34-28, at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State overcomes mistakes to beat Wisconsin 34-28 in 2OT

Payton Thorne’s 27-yard touchdown pass on third-and-12 in the second overtime gave Michigan State a hard-earned 34-28 victory over Wisconsin in a Big Ten clash Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

Braelon Allen’s fumble — his first of the season — to lead off the second overtime denied the Badgers (3-4, 1-3) after they tied the game on Graham Mertz’ 25-yard touchdown pass to Chimere Dike in the first extra period.

Wide receiver Jayden Reed threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman on a flea-flicker in the first overtime to give the Spartans (3-4, 1-3) a 28-21 lead on the overtime’s first series.

The game went to extra time when Mertz’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Keontez Lewis on fourth down tied it at 21-21 with 2:04 left in regulation. Bryce Baringer then couldn’t handle the snap for a potential field goal try in the closing seconds that would have won the game in regulation for the Spartans.

Michigan State took its first lead of the day on Thorne’s 27-yard touchdown pass with 7:23 left in the game.

Allen’s miscue marred what was a spectacular afternoon for the sophomore, who rushed for two touchdowns and posted his 12th 100-yard rushing games in last 16 outings with 123 yards. He had 83 yards rushing in the first half alone thanks mostly to a 65-yard first quarter. His 9-yard run early in the third quarter put the sophomore over the 2,000-yard mark for his career. He finished at 2,025 yards.

After a first half that saw the Spartans often stymied by half a dozen penalties, the second half began with a flag for a blind side block that wiped out Reed’s 81-yard punt return for what would have been a tying touchdown.

Thorne finished with 265 yards passing with 21 completions in 29 attempts while Mertz was 14 of 25 for 131 yards for the Badgers.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (2) gets tackled by Michigan State Spartans safety Jaden Mangham (1) after a catch in the first quarter of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium.

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No. 3 Ohio State rolls to hand Michigan State another loss

C.J. Stroud passed for 361 yards and six touchdowns while directing six scoring drives of 75 or more yards when No. 3 Ohio State routed Michigan State 49-20 on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

The Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) had touchdown drives of 80, 75, 98, 75 and 91 yards for a 35-13 halftime lead.

Marvin Harrison Jr. had seven catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns and Emeka Egbuka caught five passes for 143 yards and a score.

Stroud (21 of 26) had a 19-yard TD pass to Harrison on the Buckeyes’ first possession of the game but Charles Brantley picked him off the next series and returned it 32 yards to make 7-7. That was the only time the Spartans (2-4, 0-3) stopped the Buckeyes in the first half.

Stroud responded with a 69-yard score to Egbuka on the next possession.

Ohio State extended the lead to 21-7 on Julian Fleming’s 51-yard reception on the second play of the second quarter before the Spartans pulled to within 21-13 on a Jayden Reed 18-yard catch followed by a missed extra point.

Back came the Buckeyes to go up 28-13 midway through the quarter on a 1-yard run for TreVeyon Henderson. Harrison then got his second TD, a 28-yarder for a 35-13 lead.

Stroud in the first half was 15 of 18 for 285 yards as the Buckeyes had 429 total yards.

The onslaught continued when the Buckeyes took the second half kickoff and went 96 yards in nine plays, capped by Harrison’s catch of 19 yards for a 42-13 score.

Stroud’s final TD was for 2-yards to Gee Scott with 3:04 left in the third quarter to make to make it 49-13.

Henderson, playing for the injured Miyan Williams, ran for 117 yards and a TD on 18 carries in the first half but had a run for a yard to start the third quarter before leaving with an injury.

Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne was 11 for 118 for 113 yards, a TD and an interception.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) looks to throw during the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Ohio State faces struggling Michigan State

A Michigan State season that gets more disappointing by the week could end up taking a dramatic turn for the better if the host Spartans can upset No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday at East Lansing, Mich.

The Spartans (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) have three consecutive losses after opening with wins against Mid-American Conference schools Western Michigan and Akron.

The schedule gets more challenging when the Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0) roll into Spartan Stadium with the No. 1 scoring offense (48.8 points per game) in FBS, even though quarterback C.J. Stroud had a subpar performance in a 49-10 win over Rutgers on Saturday.

“We know everything’s not always peaches and cream,” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said Monday. “There are bumps in the road, and some are severe and some are not so much. If you’re sitting here waiting for the easy bus to come around, the easy bus isn’t coming.”

The Buckeyes are favored by nearly four touchdowns. The last time Michigan State was as big of an underdog was 1998 when the Spartans, coached by Nick Saban, defeated the top-ranked Buckeyes at Columbus, Ohio.

Tucker, a graduate assistant for Saban then, and later an Ohio State assistant coach (2001-04), knows what is needed for an upset.

“First of all, you have to believe,” Tucker said. “That’s one. And you have to strip the name off the jersey and go to work.”

The problem is deciding how to contain the Buckeyes. Rutgers concentrated on the passing game, and Stroud was 13 of 22 for 154 yards, a career low in yardage as a starter. While he did have two touchdown passes, he threw his second interception in as many games.

Stroud will look to bounce back against a Spartans pass defense that ranks 115 of 131 schools (275 yards per game).

“I think C.J. will tell you that all he wants to do is win,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “He was the happiest guy on Saturday.”

The Buckeyes’ Miyan Williams did not have to share the running duties last weekend because TreVeyon Henderson was injured. Williams responded with a career-high 189 yards and five touchdowns on 21 carries to tie the school rushing-TD record held by Pete Johnson and Keith Byars.

Williams’ production came against a Rutgers defense that was second nationally by allowing only 56.5 rushing yards per game.

“He’s tough. He’s rugged and he’s a violent, violent player,” Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford said of Williams.

The best defense against the Buckeyes will be limiting their possessions, but the Spartans have been erratic. In a 27-13 loss to Maryland last Saturday, the Michigan State offense gained just 75 of its 321 total yards in the second half, when Payton Thorne was 7 of 20 for 41 yards after he threw for 180 yards and a TD in the first half.

Ohio State will play on the road for the first time this season but is going to a place that historically has favored the Buckeyes, who have not lost in eight games in East Lansing since 1999.

“It will be new challenge for us,” Day said. “It’s going to be hard to win up there. It always is.”

The Buckeyes have won six straight overall in the series, by a combined 233-54 score, including 56-7 last season at home when the Spartans were ranked seventh.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Jayden Reed (1) runs after the catch during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins  at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State suffers third-consecutive loss at hands of Maryland

Taulia Tagovailoa went 32-of-41 passing for 314 yards and a touchdown to lead Maryland to a 27-13 home win over Michigan State in a Big Ten contest on Saturday.

Antwain Littleton rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries to flank Tagovailoa for the Terrapins (4-1, 1-1).

Payton Thorne went 27-of-44 passing for 221 yards and a touchdown in defeat for Michigan State (2-3, 0-2), which has lost three straight games.

Maryland scored on the opening possession, going 93 yards in 12 plays and taking a 7-0 lead with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run by Littleton.

Michigan State answered with a long drive of its own, tying the game at 7-7 with 5:45 to go in the first on a 12-yard touchdown run by Elijah Collins, which capped off an 8-play, 77-yard drive.

Maryland then went 85 yards in five plays and regained the lead at 14-7 on a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:41 remaining in the second quarter by Colby McDonald.

Michigan State pulled within 14-13 on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Thorne to Jayden Reed with 4:24 remaining in the second quarter.

The extra point failed after a bad snap.

The Terrapins took a 21-13 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the second half on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Rakim Jarrett.

The half ended when Maryland blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt by Michigan State.

The Terrapins extended their lead on their first drive of the second half, going up 24-13 with 8:26 remaining in the third on a 43-yard field goal by Chad Ryland.

After a scoreless third quarter, Maryland then padded its lead to 27-13 after a 51-yard field goal by Ryland with 7:54 remaining in the game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mike Locksley talks to the referee in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State aims for quicker start vs. eager Maryland

Two days after Michigan State suffered its second straight humbling loss, coach Mel Tucker braced himself as he reached the podium for his weekly press conference.

“I see some smiles out there,” Tucker told reporters. “You licking your chops, or what?”

That question might be better put to Tucker’s next opponent. Big Ten foe Maryland (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) figures to have confidence and incentive when it takes on Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten), Saturday in College Park, Md.

The Terps are 0-4 against the Spartans over the last five seasons but appear to be on the rise under fourth-year coach Mike Locksley. After throwing a scare into No. 4 Michigan in a 34-27 loss on Saturday, Maryland is anxious to show it can finally be competitive in now its ninth season in the Big Ten.

Only in 2014, its first year in the league, has Maryland managed a .500 conference record. And they have never won more than seven games overall in a single season since jumping away from the ACC.

Meanwhile, Michigan State is trying to put its once-promising season back on the rails after two straight losses. Coming off an 11-2 season, the Spartans rose to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 Poll after decisive wins over two Mid-American Conference teams.

But horrible starts the last two weeks doomed Michigan State at Washington, 39-28, and at home against Minnesota, 34-7. The Spartans trailed 22-0 in the second quarter against Washington and 17-0 at halftime against Minnesota — teams that are undefeated and now ranked 15th and 21st, respectively.

“It’s a lot easier to coach guys when everything is going well,” Tucker said. “When adversity hits, that’s when the rubber meets the road.”

After the departure of running back Kenneth Walker III, last year’s Doak Walker Award winner who now plays for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL, the Spartans have struggled to find a rushing attack. In the losses, their 43 carries produced just 80 yards.

Without the running threat, quarterback Payton Thorne struggled to stretch the Minnesota defense, completing 17 of 24 passes for just 132 yards.

Maryland counters with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who pronounced himself “100 percent” on Tuesday even though Locksley called him a “game-time decision” along with wideout Rakim Jarrett. Tagovailoa sustained several big Michigan hits and was briefly knocked out of the game by a monster blind-side tackle as he delivered a pass.

If he’s ready to go, Tagovailoa will face another challenging pass rush this week. The Spartans are tied for the Big Ten lead with 12 sacks, including 5.5 by linebacker Jacoby Windmon, who is tied for the NCAA lead.

“The pass rusher that they’ve put out there on the edge really creates some issues,” Locksley said. “We’ve got to do a great job of making sure that guy doesn’t disrupt our game plan.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;  Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) runs for a first down in the second quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota moves to 4-0 with 34-7 road rout over Michigan State

Tanner Morgan went 23-of-26 passing for 268 yards and three touchdown to lead Minnesota to a 34-7 road win at Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten), which outgained Michigan State, 508-240.

The Golden Gophers also had an enormous 42:30 of possession time, outrushed Michigan State (2-2, 0-1), 240-38, and forced three Michigan State turnovers.

Payton Thorne went 17-of-24 passing for 132 yards and two interceptions for Michigan State.

Minnesota dominated the first quarter, first taking a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Ibrahim on the first drive of the game, which finished off a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

The Golden Gophers then marched 77 yards in nine plays and took a 14-0 lead with 2:57 remaining in the first on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Daniel Jackson.

At the end of the first quarter, Minnesota had 169 yards and 14 first downs to 1 yard and no first downs for Michigan State.

Minnesota again drove the field and took a 17-0 lead with 10:14 left in the second quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett.

On the first possession of the second half, Michigan State’s offense drove all the way down to the Minnesota 6-yard line, but on a first-down carry Thorne fumbled.

The ball was recovered by Minnesota’s Justin Walley and returned to the Minnesota 10.

The Golden Gophers then took the ball, drove 90 yards and took a 24-0 lead with 3:26 remaining in the third on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Nick Kallerup.

Following an interception, Minnesota took a 31-0 lead with 14:08 remaining in the game on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Jackson.

Trickett made it 34-0 Minnesota on a 22-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining.

Michigan State broke up the shutout on a 27-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Noah Kim to Germie Bernard with 17 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;   Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) can not hold onto the ball after being hit by Akron Zips cornerback Jalen Hooks (29). Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Michigan State led by defense to win over Akron

Jalen Berger gained 107 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns and No. 14 Michigan State took advantage of four Akron fumbles in a 52-0 romp on Saturday.

Jarek Broussard rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries and scored twice for the Spartans (2-0). Payton Thorne completed 18-of-29 passes for 212 yards and was picked off twice.

Akron quarterback DJ Irons, who completed 9-of-13 passes for 123 yards, was carted off during the first half. The Zips dropped to 1-1.

Michigan State led 24-0 at halftime.

The Spartans scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. Broussard plunged up the middle on a 1-yard run to cap their first scoring drive, which was set up by a Zips fumble. Cal Haladay returned the giveaway 21 yards.

Berger’s 18-yard run, plus an Akron facemask penalty, put Michigan State inside the Akron 20.

Another Zips fumble, which was forced by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Jacoby Windmon, allowed the Spartans to start their next scoring drive on Akron’s 45. Berger powered up the middle for the final yard.

Windmon recovered a fumble in the second quarter, which led to the Spartans’ third scoring drive. This one lasted eight plays and 56 yards and included a 20-yard pass from Thorne to Jayden Reed. It was completed by another 1-yard Berger run.

Windmon finished with three forced fumbles.

Reed had an 86-punt return for a touchdown in the final minute of the half wiped out by a holding call. Jack Stone connected on a 43-yard field goal in the final second.

Haladay sacked Jeff Undercluffer and forced a fumble early in the third, giving Michigan State the ball on Akron’s 20. Two plays later, Noah Kim connected with Tre Mosley on a 16-yard scoring pass for a 31-0 advantage.

Broussard scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard plunge midway through the third. Berger also scored from two yards out later in the quarter to make it 45-0.

Elijah Collins scored on a 1-yard run before the quarter expired.

— Field Level Media