Spartans Fall at No. 11 Penn State, 35-16

Michigan State concludes the regular season with a 5-7 record
Penn State head coach James Franklin greets Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker following an...
Penn State head coach James Franklin greets Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker following an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)(Barry Reeger | AP)
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 9:26 PM EST
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UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa. (MSU Athletics) - The Michigan State football team fell at No. 11 Penn State, 35-16, Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.

Payton Thorne was 24-of-43 passing for 229 yards and one touchdown for the Spartans, while Keon Coleman had eight catches for 91 yards.

Defensively, redshirt sophomore linebacker Cal Haladay led MSU with 11 tackles, giving him a total of 120 during the regular season.

Penn State scored the game’s first touchdown with 40 seconds left in the first quarter as Theo Johnson caught an 11-yard pass from Sean Clifford on a third-and-8 play that capped an 11-play, 90-yard drive.

The Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) took a 14-0 lead at the 11:22 mark in the second quarter on Johnson’s second touchdown catch of the game, this time on a pass from wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith. Lambert-Smith initially caught a lateral pass from Clifford, and then fired a pass downfield to Johnson, who raced 48 yards untouched into the end zone.

On its fifth series of the first half, Penn State was driving in the red zone, but Jake Pinegar missed his second field goal of the half, this time from 28 yards out, to keep the score at 14-0 with 1:27 left.

The Spartans used their timeouts on PSU’s last series of the half, and it kept enough time on the clock (1:27) for MSU to drive 46 yards and set up a 51-yard field-goal attempt by Jack Stone with one second remaining. Stone drilled the 51-yarder as time expired, marking not only his career long, but MSU’s first field goal of 50-plus yards since Matt Coghlin at Michigan in 2020 (51 yards).

Penn State took advantage of a Spartan turnover on a fumbled punt return in the third quarter, quickly scoring two plays later on a Clifford 14-yard TD pass to Tyler Warren at the 5:42 mark.

MSU cut the Nittany Lion lead to 21-10 with 1:37 left in the third quarter as Maliq Carr made a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone for his second touchdown in as many games. The 9-yard TD by Carr capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:05.

After forcing a Penn State punt on the ensuing series, the Spartans marched down the field for another touchdown drive to make it 21-16 with 10:52 left to play. Thorne finished off the 11-play, 70 yard drive with a 2-yard TD run, but his two-point conversion pass was incomplete.

The Nittany Lions answered with two late touchdowns, however, to put the game away in the 35-16 victory.

Michigan State concludes the regular season with a 5-7 record (3-6 Big Ten).

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