Nittany Lions Drop Second Straight at the Hands of the Spartans
EAST LANSING, Mi. – No. 24 Michigan State upset No. 7 Penn State on a walk off field goal to hand Penn State their second straight loss after a weather delay that lasted nearly three and a half hours.
With the loss, Penn State is now all but eliminated from College Football Playoff contention and Michigan State now moves into a first place tie with Ohio State in the Big Ten East division race.
The score was knotted up at 14-14 with just over seven minutes left to go in the first half when the officials stopped play as a result of lightning in the area.
“I’ve been doing this 23 years, [it’s] something I’ve never been a part of…probably don’t need to talk about it anymore than that because it’s just an excuse,” Franklin said.
For the second straight week, Penn State’s secondary was shredded, as Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke completed 33 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns.
It was the second game in a row that Lewerke passed for 400 yards or more, after throwing for 445 yards against Northwestern last weekend.
The Nittany Lions’ defensive line struggled again to put pressure on the quarterback without starting defensive end Ryan Buchholz in the lineup. Buchholz left the game against Ohio State last week early on with a leg injury. The defense this week recorded just two sacks and four tackles for a loss against a Michigan State offensive line that has been relatively pedestrian this year.
Trace McSorley, on the other hand, threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns, but he also tossed three interceptions for the second time in his career.
“We didn’t win the field position battle. We didn’t win the turnover battle, and that to me is the story of the game,” Franklin said.
Saquon Barkley also will assuredly no longer be the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy after rushing for just 63 yards on the afternoon. Barkley accumulated just 14 carries on the day, but the offensive line once again struggled to open holes up for their star running back.
With little room to run this week once again, the Nittany Lions were forced to rely on the pass game more than they would have liked.
“Offensively we’ve got to be able to get a run game going at the end of the day. But at the end of the day give Michigan State credit, but we got a lot of work to do,” Franklin said.
Two weeks ago after Penn State’s blowout win at home over Michigan, it seemed like the Nittany Lions were on track for another great season. However, after their second straight conference loss to a ranked opponent, the tables have completely turned.
Franklin is now 0-10 in his career against ranked opponents on the road, a number that will undoubtedly need to change if he and the Nittany Lions expect to compete for championships in the future.
“We’re going to get back to what got us here, which is focusing on being 1-0, and not worrying about anything else whatsoever,” Franklin said. “I’m going to make sure that everyone in our building is crystal clear about that.”
Penn State will look to get back on tack next week as they return to Beaver Stadium to take on Rutgers at 12 p.m.
Will Desautelle is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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