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MSU football blanked by No. 11 Penn State in final game of 2023

November 24, 2023
<p>Junior tight end Theo Johnson (84) running the ball during a game between Penn State and Michigan State at Ford Field on Nov. 24, 2023.</p>

Junior tight end Theo Johnson (84) running the ball during a game between Penn State and Michigan State at Ford Field on Nov. 24, 2023.

Photo by Donté Smith | The State News

In the last game of Michigan State football’s season, the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions dominated the Spartans in every way to come out with a 42-0 win at Ford Field in Detroit. 

Penn State started off the game with a 10 play, 43 yard drive that chewed up five minutes of clock. A sack on third and long from sixth year linebacker Aaron Brule forced the Nittany Lions to kick a 48 yard field goal and the attempt was buried by senior kicker Alex Felkins to give PSU the early lead.

The Spartans started off their first drive by taking the ball into Penn State territory, but redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser’s pass in the red zone was just a bit overthrown as Penn State junior defensive back and Detroit native Jaylen Reed jumped it to earn the interception. 

The run game for the Nittany Lions was eating up the MSU defense throughout the first half as sophomore running back Kaytron Allen broke a run for 50 yards midway through the first quarter for his first big gain of the evening. 

MSU’s defense held in their own territory again though, forcing Felkins to be brought out again. This time from 40 yards, his kick doinked off the right post to keep the Spartan’s deficit at three. 

Fellow PSU sophomore running back Nick Singleton got in on the action on their next drive as sophomore QB Drew Allar hit him for a 53 yard screen after a three and out and a 59 yard punt from MSU redshirt freshman Ryan Eckley. On the same defensive possession, a sack from freshman Jordan Hall kept Penn State out of the end zone yet again as they had to settle for a 30 yard kick from Felkins to give PSU a six point lead in the first three minutes of the second quarter. 

The green and white offense again stalled with another three and out, and this time Penn State took it to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. Singleton and Allen continued their big days as Singleton accumulated 43 yards in both the running and passing game while Allen took a two yard rush for six and a 13 point advantage. 

MSU and Penn State both shared scoreless drives ending in midfield before the first half would come to an end, as Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and redshirt junior tight end Maliq Carr caught three passes on the Spartan’s offensive possession for a combined 30 yards.

After receiving the ball to start the half, the Spartans gave the ball right back to the Nittany Lions after Houser took a sack from sophomore linebacker Abdul Carter.

Eckley’s punt reached midfield after the three and out to start the half, and PSU again took advantage of the short field after. Their conversion on fourth and short with a run in Spartan territory moved the chains to set up an eight yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman QB Beau Pribula, hitting his junior tight end Tyler Warren to make it a three score game early in the second half. Allar came back in for the two point conversion to make it a three touchdown lead, finding junior wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith in the middle of the end zone. 

After a snap went over Houser’s head for a 21 yard loss to kill a promising offensive drive, Penn State struck quickly with a 60 yard toss down the middle of the field from Allar to sophomore wide receiver Omari Evans who got downed just two yards before the score. Pribula would get six points with his legs just two plays later though, scrambling to up their lead to 28. 

After a couple scoreless possessions from both sides, Penn State found themselves deep into MSU territory with a 38 yard punt return. Allar got his second touchdown of the game a couple plays later as he found junior tight end Theo Johnson for a 21 yard score to make it a five touchdown contest. 

Houser continued to feel pressure throughout the second half, taking his sixth sack on the Spartan’s fifth three and out of the match. The Nittany Lion run game continued to dominate as the fourth quarter progressed, as Allen scampered for a 40 yard gain into the Spartan side of the field for his 137th rushing yard of the night. Singleton got the touchdown run though, scoring from 14 out to make it a 42 point game.

Neither team scored or move the ball very much in the final minutes of the game, ultimately ending in MSU’s final loss of the year.

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