EAST LANSING, Mich. – It was another ugly offensive performance and another loss for Michigan State on Saturday.
The Spartans lost their third straight game, this time to No. 6 Penn State, 28-7.
"Yeah, we can get better," Penn State coach James Franklin told reporters. "We're looking at everything we possibly can do to get better. We're 1-0 this past week. We've got to be more consistent." The Spartans will be facing their third straight top-10 opponent, having lost back-to-back games to the Buckeyes and Wisconsin before getting last week off. The two straight setbacks came by a combined 72-10 margin and the visit from Penn State gives Mark Dantonio's team a chance to hit the reset button. "Coming off the Wisconsin game, we've got to plant our foot in the ground and drive forward," Dantonio told the media. "I think that's what you have to do. Disappointing in how we played up there, the outcome and everything that was going on with that. We've got to figure it out and reset and move forward, and I think we're capable of that."
ABOUT PENN STATE (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten)
The Nittany Lions were outgained by 134 yards and held the ball for only just over 22 minutes in the win over the Wolverines, but a handful of big plays - including a 53-yard bomb for a score from Sean Clifford to KJ Hamler in the fourth quarter - were the difference. Clifford ranks second in the Big Ten with 1,742 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes while Hamler tops the league with seven TD catches. The defense was limited to one sack versus Michigan but still ranks tied for fourth among FBS teams with 28, led by defensive ends Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney with 5.5 apiece.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (4-3, 2-2)
Senior quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for just 53 yards and an interception before getting pulled in the fourth quarter of the 38-0 loss to Wisconsin. The ground game managed only 30 yards in the ugly defeat and it enters this one ranked 12th in the Big Ten with 117.1 per game. Senior wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. leads the conference with 683 receiving yards.
1. Lewerke threw for 259 yards and two TDs in last season's 21-17 win at Penn State, capping it with a game-winning 25-yard scoring strike with 19 seconds left.
2. Clifford has 10 passing TDs and three on the ground over the last four games.
3. Michigan State has won five of the last six meetings.
PREDICTION: Penn State 24, Michigan State 17