Recap: Michigan State holds off Penn State in snowy weather, 30-27
They were slipping and sliding, zipping and gliding, but the Michigan State Spartans overcame the weather and then the Penn State Nittany Lions to close its regular season with a 30-27 win in East Lansing on Saturday.
It'll be Michigan State ball once again after Justin White recovers a fumble forced by Ma'a Gaoteote. It's first-and-10 for the Spartans at Penn State's 29-yard-line with 4:11 to go in the game.
Three run plays get Michigan State to third-and-6.
Timeout #1 Penn State (4:11 4th)
Kenneth Walker rushes for 3.
Timeout #2 Penn State (4:05 4th)
The fourth-down run by Walker is for a loss of 1. Turnover on downs.
Michigan State 30, Penn State 20 (4:02 4th)
Michigan State gets Penn State to third-and-6, where Brandon Wright chases down Clifford with relentless pursuit to force him out of bounds at the 9 for a loss of 14.
Clifford makes a miraculous escape from pressure on fourth-and-24, and hits Brenton Strange for a gain of 25. Wild stuff.
Moments later, Clifford moves the chains with a 4-yard run to bring up first-and-10 at the Penn State 41.
Clifford's next snap is a throw to Jahan Dotson for a gain of 23 yards to the Michigan State 32.
Clifford hits Parker Washington for a 15-yard passing touchdown a few plays later to cut the Michigan State lead late.
Michigan State 30, Penn State 27 (0:43 4th)
Michigan State recovers the onside kick. This one is over.
FINAL: Michigan State 30, Penn State 27
Michigan State takes over at the 48 of Penn State.
Kenneth Walker rushes for 8, and Payton Thorne hits Connor Heyward for a pickup of 25 to give Michigan State first-and-10 at the Penn State 15.
After a 3-yard run by Walker, Jayden Reed loses 8 yards on an end-around. The third-and-15 pass is incomplete, but there's no chance Michigan State tries a field goal in this weather, and without a kicker.
Reed goes up and pulls down a jump ball in the end zone for a Michigan State touchdown.
Michigan State 30, Penn State 20 (5:10 4th)
Michigan State takes over at the 16, which turns into first-and-15 at the 11 with a false start.
Kenneth Walker rushes for 3, then Payton Thorne 6. Thorne fires to Harold Joiner for a 7-yard gain to move the chains, and Walker tears off an 11-yard run on the next play. It's first-and-10 at the 38 of Michigan State.
Michigan State goes backward on first down, and Thorne misses his next two passes. Bryce Baringer's punt goes out of bounds at the 40 of Penn State for just 24 yards. Not a good punt at all.
Michigan State 23, Penn State 20 (9:24 4th)
Penn State takes over at the 40, trailing 23-20.
Keyvone Lee rushes on first down, second down, and then fumbles on third down to give Michigan State the ball at the 48 of Penn State.
Michigan State 23, Penn State 20 (8:29 4th)
Penn State takes over at its own 30, trailing 23-20. Just a couple minutes left in the third quarter.
Sean Clifford picks up two first downs and hands to Keyvone Lee for a 7-yard gain on first-and-10 from the Michigan State 40, bringing the third quarter to a close.
END 3RD: Michigan State 23, Penn State 20
Lee rushes for no gain, and the third-down pass is incomplete. Clifford converts on fourth-and-3 with a 15-yard pitch and catch to Jahan Dotson for a gain of 15 to the Michigan State 25.
Moments later, it's fourth-and-1, and this time the Nittany Lions aren't as fortunate. Noah Harvey throws Lee down for no gain to get Michigan State's defense off the field.
Michigan State 23, Penn State 20 (12:43 4th)
Michigan State takes over at its own 25, trailing for the first time this game, 20-17.
Kenneth Walker breaks off a 27-yard run to start the drive, and Elijah Collins gets 2 and 10 on his next two carries. It's first-and-10 at the 36.
Michigan State is forced into third-and-14 with a 5-yard loss on third down, but the Spartans cut it to fourth-and-3 with an 11-yard pass, then Paytone Thorne takes off for a gain of 5 to move the chains. It's first-and-10 at the 24.
After a 3-yard run by Walker, Michigan State is called for a 15-yard chop block penalty. Thorne gets 10 of it back with a pass to Connor Heyward, then hits Jayden Reed for a pickup of 21 yards to the 5-yard-line of Penn State.
Walker has a touchdown wiped off the board by a holding penalty that leaves the Spartan faithful upset. The call is on Kevin Jarvis, who also took the chop-block penalty.
A loss of 4 on first-and-15 and 6-yard gain on second down brings up third-and-13, where Jayden Reed is able to draw pass interference on third down to keep the drive alive.
Walker is stuffed twice, but Payton Thorne gets up the middle on third down for a touchdown to put the Spartans back on top.
The PAT is missed. We might not see another kicker tonight.
Michigan State 23, Penn State 20 (2:14 3rd)
Penn State takes over at its own 22 to start the half.
Sean Clifford throws a 14-yard completion on second down, then hands to Keyvone Lee for an 18-yard gain that reaches the Michigan State 48. Jacub Panasiuk sacks Sean Clifford for a loss of 8 on the next third-down play to end the drive.
Jordan Stout's punt is downed at the 7.
Michigan State 17, Penn State 14 (11:56 3rd)
Michigan State takes over a the 7. An incompletion and 3-yard run brings up third-and-7. Thorne's third-down pass is intercepted by Daequan Hardy and returned for a Penn State touchdown to give the Nittany Lions the lead.
Jordan Stout misses the PAT.
Penn State 20, Michigan State 17 (11:07 3rd)
Penn State takes over at the 30, and Keyvone Lee breaks off a 33-yard run to start the drive.
Sean Clifford completes a 9-yard pass on second-and-10, then hadns to Devyn Ford for a 3-yard run that moves the chains again. First-and-10 at the 28 of Michigan State.
After a 4-yard run, Clifford completes another 9-yard pass, then gets the ball to Jahan Dotson for a 5-yard pickup that makes it second-5 at the 7. Clifford is tracked down by Drew Beesley for no gain on second down, and is then sacked by Beesley on third down.
Timeout #1 Penn State (0:59 2nd)
Jordan Field misses the 27-yard field goal.
Michigan State 17, Penn State 14 (0:56 2nd)
Walker rushes the ball to bring the half to a close.
END 2ND: Michigan State 17, Penn State 14
Michigan State takes over at its own 25 with 12:11 to go in the second quarter.
Payton Thorne hits a 4-yard pass, then converts on third-and-6 with an 11-yard completion to Maliq Carr, bringing up first-and-10 at the 40.
Thorne gets the Spartans out of third-and-8 with a 19-yard completion to Montorie Foster that sets up first-and-10 at the 39 of Penn State.
After a 2-yard loss, Thorne scrambles for a gain of 7 to make it third-and-5: Elijah Collins is stopped after a gain of 4.
Before the fourth-down snap, Michigan State is flagged for a false start, but Thorne converts fourth-and-6 with a 19-yard completion to Connor Heyward, then hurry to the line and dish the ball to Collins for a gain of 11 to the Penn State 5, where it'll be first-and-goal.
Another false start makes it first-and-goal at the 10.
Michigan State can't find the end zone, but Matt Coghlin makes the 22-yard field goal. He's limping off the field, so we'll see if that's an injury that lasts.
Michigan State 17, Penn State 14 (5:59 2nd)
Michigan State takes over at its own 7, and they don't have much going on.
Kenneth Walker rushes for 5 on first down, then gets only 3 after a second-down incompletion.
Bryce Baringer's punt is fair caught at the Michigan State 46.
Michigan State 14, Penn State 7 (12:34 2nd)
Sean Clifford's first pass of the drive is incomplete, but his first two are for big gains: The first goes for 16, and the second is a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson that'll tie the game.
Michigan State 14, Penn State 14 (12:11 2nd)
Michigan State takes over at the 25 looking to extend its 14-7 lead.
Kenneth Walker rushes for 2, then 2 again, and Payton Thorne's third-down pass goes for only 5. Bryce Baringer's punt is downed at the Penn State 21.
Michigan State 14, Penn State 7 (1:32 1st)
Sean Clifford starts the drive with an 18-yard completion to Parker Washington on second down. He takes off on the next play and loses 3, bringing the first quarter to a close.
END 1ST: Michigan State 14, Penn State 7
Clifford misses on first down, and the third-down pass only goes for 12 when they needed 13.
Michigan State will take over at the 7.
Michigan State 14, Penn State 7 (14:03 2nd)
Penn State takes over at its own 32, trailing by 14 early.
Sean Clifford completes a second-down pass to Brenton Stange for a gain of 21, and the Nittany Lions are off and running.
Michigan State gets Penn State to third-and-12, but Clifford completes an 18-yard pass to keep the drive alive, and then hits Jahan Dotson for a 27-yard touchdown pass on the very next play.
Michigan State 14, Penn State 7 (3:37 1st)
Penn State takes over at its own 38.
Sean Clifford's first-down pass is incomplete, his second-down pass goes for 8, and Keyvone Lee is stuffed for a gain of only 1 on third-and-2.
Jordan Stout's punt is downed at the 1-yard-line.
Michigan State 7, Penn State 0 (10:10 1st)
Kenneth Walker gives the Spartans some breathing room with a 35-yard run to the 36, then rushes for 15 to the 49. He's got the juice today.
A 14-yard pass to Jayden Reed sets up first-and-10 at the Penn State 35, and two plays later, a 23-yard pass to Reed makes it first-and-10 at the 10.
A 1-yard run and incomplete screen pass brings up third-and-goal, where Thorne finds Tre Mosley in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown pass to put the Spartans up two scores.
Michigan State 14, Penn State 0 (6:09 1st)
Michigan State takes over at its own 25 to start the game.
A 13-yard pass on first down gives Michigan State a new set of downs at the 37. Two plays later, it's third-and-8, and Payton Thorne hits Maliq Carr for a gain of 40 yards to the Penn State 21. What a huge play.
A false start backs the Spartans up, but a personal foul on Penn State gives the Spartans first-and-goal at the 7.
Thorne rushes up the middle for 5, and Kenneth Walker gives Michigan State the early lead with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
Michigan State 7, Penn State 0 (11:17 1st)
It's Big Ten title and College Football Playoff hopes resoundingly dashed a week ago, Michigan State still has plenty to play for Saturday when it plays host to Penn State.
A victory Saturday would be the Spartans' 10th this season — head coach Mel Tucker's second in East Lansing — and would all but clinch a berth in a New Year's Six bowl.
Getting there won't be easy.
Michigan State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) is coming off a trouncing at the hands of Ohio State, and facing a Penn State team that seems to be rounding into form after injuries and ailments. The Spartans, meanwhile, are banged up at some key positions, and reportedly also is dealing the flu working its way through the team.
Penn State at Michigan State
► Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
► TV/radio: ABC/760
► Line: Michigan State by 1
► Records: Penn State 7-4 (4-4 Big Ten); No. 12 Michigan State (9-2, 6-2)
► Series: Michigan State leads 16-13-1 (Last: Dec. 12, 2020 (at) Penn State 39, Michigan State 24