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Penn State Football’s regular season ended on Saturday evening with a demoralizing 55-16 loss to the Michigan State Spartans.
Despite the final score, the Lions kept it close until a series of serious second half miscues, and total yardage was only 436-418 in favor of Michigan State.
PSU entered the game with hopes of a New Year’s Day Bowl berth, but the Spartans made sure the Lions’ regular season ended on a bitter note.
Penn State moved the ball into Spartan territory on the game’s opening drive before an end zone throw by Christian Hackenberg was intercepted.
MSU scored a touchdown on their next drive but missed the PAT.
The Lions had another big drive in the second quarter, taking the ball all the way to the Spartan one-yard line, but were stymied in the red zone for the second straight week, squeaking out with only a field goal to make the score 6-3.
After the teams traded punts, Spartans QB Connor Cook led his team on another TD drive to take a 13-3 lead.
The game was perhaps lost on Penn State’s next drive, as a turnover squandered another drive into Spartan territory. This time, it was a fumble by TE Kyle Carter that was returned 77 yards for a MSU TD which made the score 20-3.
Penn State was able to add a TD before the half on an 8-yard strike from Hackenberg to Chris Godwin.
The second half was more of the same. Michigan State scored on their first two possessions to take a commanding 34-10 lead, and also scored another defensive touchdown on Hackenberg’s second interception of the game.
The only second half highlight for the Nittany Lions was Hackenberg’s second touchdown pass to Chris Godwin, this time on a five-yard score.
Hackenberg finished 22/39 with 2 TD and 2 INT in what may have been his final regular season game in a Penn State uniform.
Freshman RB Saquon Barkley continued to be a bright spot for Penn State with his 5th game of the season with over 100 rushing yards. He finished the game with 103 yards on 17 carries and ended the regular season with 1007 yards on 165 carries for an average of 6.1 YPC, which is especially impressive considering it came behind Penn State’s awful offensive line.
Penn State awaits a likely late-December bowl invitation. As soon as the date, destination, and opponent are known, we’ll be here to preview the matchup.