Final Thoughts: Penn State 28, Michigan State 7

By Matthew Filipovits on October 26, 2019 at 7:18 pm
Oct 26, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) looks to throw the ball during the first half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
© Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Land Grant Trophy is coming home to Happy Valley. Pat Freiermuth led the way with three touchdowns, with KJ Hamler adding in one of his own in his home state. The defense played downright dominant, allowing just 259 yards in a game that never felt in doubt.

  • The Nittany Lions clearly had no interest in blowing Michigan State out of the water once they had a comfortable lead. Backups and freshmen started rotating in at about the mid-point of the third quarter. With a bye week on the horizon, it's a good plan to make sure you can keep guys healthy before the home stretch.
  • Sean Clifford played an outstanding game in a borderline monsoon. He was smart with the football, and consistently made throws on all three levels, finishing his day going 18 for 32 for 189 yards and four scores. His lone interception was more of an arm punt than an actual missed throw. He was a bit underwhelming in each of the last two outings, so him bouncing back in less-than-ideal conditions is a great sign.
  • Penn State's run defense is downright nasty. The unit held Michigan State to just 77 yards on 31 carries, an average of under two and a half yards per carry. In a game where the weather severely dulled both quarterback's ability to throw, that's exactly what Penn State's defense needed to do.
  • The Nittany Lions have successful traversed this monstrous three-game stretch and made it to their second bye week at 8-0. Penn State has never made it to November undefeated under James Franklin and now can officially be seen as a playoff contender. There are a lot of things to clean up before they travel to Minneapolis to take on an undefeated Gophers squad, but James Franklin's team has met the highest of expectations so far.
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