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EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 7 Penn State (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead, but a pair of fourth quarter field goals from No. 24 Michigan State (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten) lifted the Spartans to a 27-24 victory inside of Spartan Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 4) night.
The passing games thrived for both squads, even with the wet conditions and a 3 1/2 hour weather delay midway through the second quarter, as neither running game could find its footing. Michigan State held the edge on the ground (74-65) and in total offense (474-466), but the Nittany Lions owned a 401-400 advantage through the air.
Junior quarterback Trace McSorley piled up the second-highest passing yardage total of his career, completing 26-of-47 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions in the game, however the Spartans were unable to turn any of them into points. McSorley's 381 passing yards were just shy of his career-high 384-yard effort vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game last season.
McSorley found eight different receivers in the game, with DaeSean Hamilton (112 yards) and DeAndre Thompkins (102 yards) each accounting for over 100 yards receiving. For Hamilton it marked his eighth career game with 100-plus receiving yards, moving him into a tie for No. 4 all-time in 100-yard receiving games at Penn State with Bryant Johnson (1999-2002). The yardage total is a career high for Thompkins, marking his first career 100-yard receiving game.
Michigan State's Brian Lewerke was not to be outdone in the game, as he completed 33-of-56 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Spartans to victory. Felton Davis caught a game-high12 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown for Michigan State. LJ Scott ran for 43 yards and a touchdown, while Matt Coghlin connected on both of his field goal attempts in the Spartan's win.
- QB Trace McSorley - McSorley posted his second-highest career passing yardage total with 381 yards through the air (384 vs. Wisconsin, 2016) on 26-of-47 passing with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. His three touchdown passes moved his career total to 50, passing Christian Hackenberg (48; 2013-15) for the most in Penn State history. His three touchdowns responsible for give him 65 for his career and move him into a tie for No. 1 all-time at Penn State with Michael Robinson (2006-09).
- RB Saquon Barkley - Barkley accounted for 111 yards of total offense, including a game-high 63 rushing yards. The rushing total moved Barkley into No. 2 all-time in Penn State history with 3,436, passing Curt Warner (3,398; 1979-82). The junior added 33 yards receiving on three catches and returned a pair of kickoffs for 15 yards. He also completed one pass for 20 yards.
- TE Mike Gesicki - Gesicki led Penn State with a career-high eight catches and added a career-high 89 receiving yards. His eight grabs vaulted him into a tie for No. 11 all-time at Penn State, moving up four spots into a tie with Bryant Johnson (1999-2002) at 110 receptions.
- WR DaeSean Hamilton - Caught seven passes for 112 yards to mark his eighth-career game with 100-plus yards receiving, moving him into a tie for No. 4 on the all-time 100-yard receiving games list with the aforementioned Bryant Johnson. Had a 31-yard touchdown grab to open the scoring in the first quarter, his 15th career touchdown grab - which is tied for No. 8 in Penn State history with Joe Jurevicius (1994-97) and current assistant coach Terry Smith (1988-91).
- WR DeAndre Thompkins - Posted his first career 100-yard receiving game with 102 yards on four grabs. He hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass, tying for his longest career reception (Maryland, 2016).
- CB Amani Oruwariye - Had two tackles, an interception and a career-high four pass breakups.
- QB Brian Lewerke - Completed 33-of-56 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Also rushed seven times for 25 yards in the game.
- WR Felton Davis - Caught 12 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.
- CB David Dowell - Picked off Trace McSorley twice in the game and added four tackles.
- Michigan State Defense - Limited Penn State to just 65 yards rushing and picked off Trace McSorley three times in the game. Also had seven pass breakups, six tackles for loss and three sacks, while limiting Penn State to just 4-of-12 on third down.
First Quarter (Penn State 14, Michigan State 7)
Penn State's offense started rolling on its second possession, driving 92 yards for a touchdowns on seven plays in exactly three minutes. McSorley went 5-for-5 passing for 70 yards on the drive, capping it with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Hamilton. Hamilton started the drive with a 23-yard reception. After a 1-yard Barkley rush, McSorley connected with Thompkins along the sidelines for 13 yards. McSorley then rushed for a yard before getting help in the passing game from Barkley, as the running back took a direct snap and zipped a 20-yard throw over the middle to Gesicki to the Michigan State 42. Thompkins hauled in an 11-yard reception to the 31, and McSorley found Hamilton inside the 10, as he stiff-armed the nearest defender to fight across the goal line.
Michigan State answered with a touchdown drive to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:28 to go in the first quarter. The Spartans started at their own 48 after a 28-yard kickoff return by Connor Heyward and a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Penn State, and moved deep into Penn State territory on consecutive completions of 18 (Darrell Stewart) and 17 (Davis) yards. With the ball at the Penn State 17, a pass interference penalty in the end zone on the next play spotted the ball on the 2-yard line, but the Spartans committed a pair of penalties to move back to the 17, However, two plays later, Lewerke found Davis for 10 yards to the 7, and then Stewart made a contested catch in the end zone for the touchdown.
The Nittany Lions regained the lead on their next possession, once again moving the ball predominantly through the air. Hamilton keyed the drive with catches of 17 and 19 yards, with the latter advancing the Lions to the MSU 29. On third-and-10, McSorley picked up 2 yards rushing and Penn State decided to go for it on fourth down. The gamble paid off when McSorley tossed a short pass to Saeed Blacknall on the left sideline. Blacknall broke a tackle to pick up the first down and then two more to get all the way to the end zone with 42 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Second Quarter (Penn State 14, Michigan State 14)
Both teams traded punts to start the second quarter, before Michigan State was able to drive to the Penn State 37 on its next possession, however with 7:58 remaining in the half lightning was detected in the area, resulting in a 3 hour and 22 minute delay. The Spartans came out of the delay and gained 3-yards on their first play to bring up fourth-and-1 from the PSU 34. Going for it, Koa Farmer and Kevin Givens met MSU's Scott for no gain to force the turnover on downs.
After a three-and-out by the Nittany Lions, Michigan State covered 69 yards on just five plays to knot the score at 14. After a short gain on the first play of the drive, a pass interference call moved the sticks for the Spartans. MSU was pushed to third down again before converting on third-and-3 with a 15-yard pass from Lewerke to Gerald Holmes. On the next snap, Lewerke found Felton for a diving 33-yard grab in the end zone.
The final five drives of the half featured a pair of Michigan State punts, while Penn State had one punt and an interception before letting the clock run out to end the half.
Third Quarter (Penn State 24, Michigan State 21)
A pair of punts opened the third quarter, before Michigan State continued to show a propensity for converting on third-and-long on its way to taking a 21-14 lead. Facing third-and-18 from its own 19, Lewerke found Davis for 36 yards and a first down. After netting minus-1 yards on the next two plays, Lewerke connected with Hunter Rison for 26 yards and the duo followed that with a 17-yard connection to bring up first-and-goal from the PSU 3. Smith plunged in from three yards out on the next play to give the Spartans their first lead of the game.
Following Michigan State's score, a 12-play, 71-yard drive got Penn State on the scoreboard via a Tyler Davis 26-yard field goal. Tying for the longest drive of the season in terms of plays for the Nittany Lions (12, at Iowa), it was Barkley and McSorley that got things started with a 20-yard connection on second-and-11 to move the chains. A 13-yard run by McSorley on third-and-1 kept the drive going, before he found Hamilton on a wide receiver screen pass that went for 23 yards on third-and-9. After the next three plays accounted for seven yards, Davis knocked through his 38th career field goal.
The Penn State defense forced a three-and-out on the next Spartan possession, and McSorley wasted no time pushing the Blue and White back into the lead, finding a wide-open Thompkins down the left sideline for a 70-yard touchdown connection. The 70-yard reception tied for the longest of Thompkins career (Maryland, 2016) and was the third offensive play in 2017 of 70 yards or longer for Penn State.
Fourth Quarter (Michigan State 24, Penn State 24)
Another nice kickoff return Heyward, coupled with another Penn State personal foul penalty gave MSU the ball at its own 41 yard line to start. A pair of chunk plays moved the ball quickly into Penn State territory, as completions of 14 and 12 yards pushed the Spartans to the PSU 41. Another first down throw moved the ball to the Penn State 23, but the Nittany Lion defense yielded just four more yards on the drive to force a field goal attempt. Matt Coghlin snuck the kick inside the right upright and the score was knotted for the third time, 24-24.
McSorley and Lewerke exchanged interceptions on the next two drives and Penn State's final drive ended on fourth down, handing the ball back to the Spartans with 4:05 left on the clock at the Penn State 19 yard line. On the final drive, Scott picked a pair of first downs on the ground within the first five plays of the drive, before Penn State forced a third-and-4 at its own 37. A nice play by Tariq Castro-Fields broke up the Lewerke pass attempt, but a roughing the passer on Marcus Allen gave Michigan State a first down. Scott rushed twice more for six yards and Coghlin piped a 34-yarder as time expired to hand Penn State its second-straight setback.
PSU - 5:40 - TD - DaeSean Hamilton 31 yd pass from Trace McSorley, 7 plays, 92 yards, 3:00, 0-7
MSU - 3:28 - TD - Darrell Stewart 7 yd pass from Brian Lewerke, 4 plays, 52 yards, 2:07, 7-7
PSU - 0:42 - TD - Saeed Blacknall 27 yd Pass from Trace McSorley, 9 plays, 75 yards, 2:46, 7-14
MSU - 3:54 - TD - Felton Davis 33 yd pass from Brian Lewerke, 5 plays, 69 yards, 2:24, 14-14
MSU - 7:25 - TD - LJ Scott 3 yd run, 10 plays, 91 yards, 5:10, 21-14
PSU - 2:11 - FG - Tyler Davis 26 yd field goal, 12 plays, 71 yards, 5:08, 21-17
PSU - 0:00 - TD - DeAndre Thompkins 70 yd pass from Trace McSorley, 1 play, 70 yards, 0:05, 21-24
MSU - 10:56 - FG - Matt Coghlin 32 yd field goal, 11 plays, 45 yards, 3:59, 24-24
MSU - 0:00 - FG - Matt Coghlin 34 yd field goal, 10 plays, 51 yards, 4:05, 27-24
Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium to host Rutgers for Homecoming Saturday at noon on BTN.
Single-game tickets for the 2017 Penn State football season presented by PSECU are available for the two remaining home games (Rutgers, Nebraska). For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m-4:30 p.m.