For the final game of the 2023 regular season, Michigan State football will be heading to Ford Field in Detroit for the first time since 2010 to play the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions.
This game will be the last time MSU will take the field this year, as they would not be bowl eligible even if they were able to complete the upset and take home the Land Grant Trophy.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser and redshirt junior tight end Maliq Carr both had career high performances in their 24-21 win over the Indiana Hoosiers last weekend. Houser threw for three touchdowns on 279 passing yards which helped him take home Big Ten Freshman of the Week, while Carr caught two touchdowns, one being the game winner, on seven receptions for 119 yards, earning conference Offensive Player of the Week.
The two have shown flashes of these types of performances before this season, which can only boost their confidence, interim head coach Harlon Barnett said.
"When you play like that, (it) can’t help but build your confidence," Barnett said. "I’m sure those guys are feeling good, understanding what we’re about to face again this week. Every week in the Big Ten you’re gonna have to be ready to fight and play. Here’s another chance to play our very best, execute with discipline and finish. If we do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win a football game."
Penn State’s defense has proven to be a tough unit to face this season, most notably holding Wolverine quarterback and Heisman hopeful junior quarterback J.J. McCarthy to 60 passing yards in their game a week and a half ago.
"They play really good defense," Barnett said. "They have really good players. They play hard, they understand the scheme. They’ll come after you a little bit. It’s what we expect from those guys, but we just have to go out and execute our plan."
Even though the game won’t be played at Spartan Stadium, Barnett feels that the contest will be far from a home game, as they are still playing in state. There is an assumption that many fans of the green and white will show out because many MSU players are from the Detroit area and have played in the confines of Ford Field in the past.
"I always tell my guys it’s still 11 on 11 football," Barnett said. "I feel that Spartan nation will show up for our guys. They have busted their butts all season long, and I hope that our fans will show out and support and respect them for this season and all of the adversity they have dealt with. They didn’t ask for any of this. Some NFL fields like to keep the ticks and field layouts where they originally have them, so we just gotta understand the hash marks and our alignments because it does matter."
Kick-off between the 4-7 Spartans and 9-2 Nittany Lions set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24. The game can be watched on NBC.
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