No. 12 Michigan State is looking to turn back against Penn State

Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne revived his Ohio State team’s outing three times in the movie. It will be hard to forget the team’s nightmarish performance.

“It was hard to watch and see the things that happened,” he said of losing Route 56-7 to the Buckeyes. “It was really disappointing to watch that match. So many things to learn from that you can keep that memory stored for a long time.

The 12th-ranked Spartans saw their hopes of berthing the college football extension and dismantling the Big Ten Championship in Columbus. They will be looking for a quick turnaround when they host Penn State on Saturday.

The Spartans (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten), who won their first eight games, fell 49-0 at halftime last week and tied under 20 points for their first time this season. Coach Mel Tucker believes his team will respond with a spirited effort.

“We have a lot to play for on Saturday,” said Tucker, who took home a 10-year, $95 million deal this week. We have a large number of seniors, some of whom have spent six years here. We want to make it a special day for them. We have a chance to win ten matches and go unbeaten at Wood Shed (Spartan Stadium) in front of our fans.

Michigan State wasn’t expected to be a contender this season, but that didn’t make their late-season slouch any less painful.

“We didn’t expect to win four games,” Thorne said. This was not our plan. Our plan was to win and win now. We’ve won nine games this year and are looking to win ten on Saturday and send the seniors back on the right track.

Penn State (7-4, 4-4) exits a 28-0 victory over Rutgers in their court final. The Nittany Lions have lost four of their last five matches.

“It’s all about how you finish,” Jonathan Sutherland said of safety. “Obviously we’ve been through a lot of ordeals this season, but it’s about how it ends, and I feel the way it ends is a true testament to the character of the team.”

Penn State would attempt to exploit the Spartans’ defense that allowed an average of 339.9 yards per game.

“The numbers matter,” said Nittany Lions coach James Franklin. “But you have to play your game plan and you have to stay balanced because if you try to become something on Saturday that you haven’t been all season, you’re out of the game.”

Walker prepares menus

Junior Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State was shortlisted as one of the three finalists for the Maxwell Prize and the Duke Walker Prize.

Walker ranks second on FBS in rushing, averaging 136.2 yards per game, but he was held at 25 yards on six runs last week in Ohio. He suffered an undisclosed injury and his condition in Saturday’s match was in doubt.

Franklin gets a security blanket

There has been much speculation regarding the job security of Penn State coach James Franklin after a disappointing season. That was stopped when Franklin agreed to a 10-year contract extension to remain head coach until the 2031 season.

“We have made, and will need to continue to invest, significant investments in our football program because we believe we have a very bright future under James’ leadership,” Penn State’s Sandy Barbour said.

Franklin is 67-32 as head coach of the Nittany Lions,

sick wave

The Nittany Lions dealt with a flu bug last week which Franklin hopes may have come to an end. He’s seen sick players have to leave team meetings. The others needed IV treatments until the coin flipped in last week’s game against Rutgers. In all, about 35 players missed most of last week’s training or were unavailable for the game.

“I think we’re definitely getting through that,” Sutherland said.

Quarterback Sean Clifford missed the warm-up before trying to play through the illness. He was ineffective and quickly agreed when Franklin chose to go with freshman Christian Vue in the middle of the first quarter.

Clifford, although not feeling 100% earlier this week, should recover by Saturday to begin what could be his last regular season. He has not decided if he will return next season.

Turn off the lights

The Spartans struggled to score against the Buckeyes and will face another tough test.

The Nittany Lions are ranked number one in the Big Ten and fourth nationally, with competitors only ranking 15.5 points per game. They were particularly stingy in the red zone where crimes were considered aimless on 14 of the 37 trips.

14 red zone stops in Pennsylvania lead all Power Five teams.

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