Penn State football takes down Michigan State for third straight win

penn state football

Penn State football picked its third consecutive win on Saturday taking down Michigan State 39-24 to improve to 3-5 with one game remaining in the 2020 season. It was a tale of two halves as the Nittany Lions had to erase an 11-point deficit going into halftime. Here’s how win No. 3 went down.

1st Quarter

The game started with something you don’t see everyday. Safety Jaquan Brisker intercepted Payton Thorne’s first pass attempt of the day and returned it 17 yards before coughing the ball right back up to Michigan State. The good news is no points came from this, but the senior probably thought about that play in his sleep that night.

The Penn State offense was able to turn the Spartans’ punt into a Jake Pinegar field goal to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Keyvone Lee’s nine-yard touchdown run was called back after a holding penalty. That’s the difference between seven and three points. Great teams just don’t do that. Inexcusable.

2nd Quarter

It was an electric quarter with Michigan State scoring a touchdown on each of its final three possessions in the half. It started with Thorne tossing a 45-yard pearl on the money to Jalen Nailor to take the lead.

Penn State got it right back, though on an eight-play drive capped off by a Sean Clifford 31-yard touchdown run. Then the Nittany Lion defense just got picked apart by Thorne and Co. They put together back to back seven play touchdown drives of 70 and 87 yards. Thorne threw for 190 yards and three touchdowns in this 14-minute span.

Michigan State led at the half 21-10 on senior night.

3rd Quarter

Whatever James Franklin said to the team in the locker room worked. Penn State opened up the half going the length of the field to cut the deficit to three after a Parker Washington touchdown and Jahan Dotson two-point conversion catch. QUARTERBACK Will Levis threw a pass on this possession. It was his first attempt in 29 snaps and went for 11 yards and a first down. I was beginning to think he wasn’t even allowed to throw the ball.

After Michigan State kicked a field goal to extend its lead to 24-18, Levis and Clifford connected with Dotson and Washington on back to back plays for 33 and 26 yards respectfully to set up a Levis touchdown run.

4th Quarter

After forcing a three-and-out, the Nittany Lions got the ball back and Clifford hooked up with Washington once again this time going for a 49-yard score. On the ensuing drive, the Penn State defense forced another quick punt and Dotson returned it 81 yards to the house to put the game out of reach.

The rest of the quarter was pretty slow with the final five possessions ending in a punt or a turnover on downs. Penn State’s seniors went out on a high note holding onto the Land Grant Trophy.


Thorne dominated Brent Pry’s defense in the second quarter, but Penn State made some key adjustments at halftime to hold Michigan State to only three points in the second half.

Dotson and Washington have turned into quite the receiving duo and both had big games on Saturday. If Dotson decides to come back to school for his senior season, it’ll be a scary threat to defenses in 2021.

PSU Players of the Game

Jahan Dotson: eight catches, 108 yards, punt return touchdown, Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week

Parker Washington: four catches, 95 yards, two touchdowns

Jaquan Brisker: nine tackles (six solo), 1.5 tackles for loss, one interception

Shane Simmons: seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss