EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Sean Clifford threw four touchdown passes – three to Pat Freiermuth – and No. 6 Penn State had little trouble shutting down Michigan State’s anemic offense in a 28-7 victory Saturday.
The Nittany Lions (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) avenged close losses to Michigan State from each of the past two seasons. The Spartans (4-4, 2-3) wrapped up a dreadful stretch in which they lost to Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State by a combined score of 100-17.
Penn State now moves on to a surprising matchup of undefeated teams on Nov. 9 at Minnesota. The Nittany Lions had lost five of their previous six against Michigan State.
Clifford’s first touchdown pass to Freiermuth, a 16-yarder, opened the scoring in the first quarter, and those same two players gave Penn State a 13-0 lead with a 19-yard strike in the second. KJ Hamler’s 27-yard TD catch with 1:20 left in the half – plus a successful 2-point conversion – made it 21-0.
A fumbled punt by Michigan State set up Clifford’s 6-yard touchdown toss to Freiermuth in the third quarter. Then the Spartans finally scored for the first time in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 2 seconds. Brian Lewerke found Cody White for a 49-yard pass, and Anthony Williams scored on a 4-yard run.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions haven’t won the Land Grant Trophy that often lately, but they had an easy time Saturday. Last weekend, Penn State nearly let a 21-point lead slip away in a win over Michigan. The Nittany Lions had no problems holding on to their big advantage against the Spartans.
Michigan State: The Spartans might not be as bad as these past three opponents made them look, but they’re struggling just to reach a bowl, and the offense is showing no signs of being able to function effectively against good teams.
No. 5 Oklahoma’s loss to unranked Kansas State gives Penn State a chance to move up.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions are off next weekend before traveling to play Minnesota.
Michigan State: The Spartans also have an open date – their second in three weeks. They host Illinois on Nov. 9.
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