No. 11 Penn State closes season with 42-0 win over Michigan State
DETROIT (AP) — Coach James Franklin is pleased Penn State posted another double-digit win season, even though it fell short in matchups with the Big Ten’s best two teams.
Drew Allar threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns and Kaytron Allen ran for a career-high 137 yards, providing the 11th-ranked Nittany Lions with plenty of offense in a 42-0 win over Michigan State Friday night.
Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten, No. 11 CFP ) had 586 yards of offense in a game they controlled from the start, setting up the program for a New Year’s Six bowl bid. The Nittany Lions lost to Ohio State 20-12 in October, and 24-15 to Michigan earlier this month, keeping them out of the national championship race.
“We won 10 games this season, there are very few programs that are able to do that, and we’ve done it in back-to-back seasons,” Franklin said. “I am very proud of what we’ve done.
“Do I understand, do I embrace, the fact that this place has very, very high expectations? Nobody has higher expectations than the players and the coaches.”
The Spartans (4-8, 2-7) closed a tumultuous season that was stunted by Mel Tucker getting suspended and fired. It also hurt that a slew of injuries left them with about 50 scholarship players healthy enough to play in the finale at Ford Field.
“At the end of the day, it’s a life lesson,” running back Nathan Carter said.
Allar completed 17 of 26 passes, a week after getting knocked out against Rutgers with a hard hit to his right shoulder.
Nicholas Singleton had 118 yards rushing and a touchdown along with two catches for 68 yards for the Nittany Lions, representing a balanced offense that had 303 yards on the ground and 283 through the air.
Penn State stalled on its first three drives that ended with making two of three field goals before Allar threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kayron Allen late in the first half to take a 13-0 lead and spark the rout.
Allen converted a fourth-and-1 from the Michigan State 11 with a run on the opening drive of the second half and on the next play, Beau Pribula threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Warren. The backup quarterback scored on a run late in the third to give Penn State a four-touchdown lead.
“We were able to play both quarterbacks, something we wanted to do all year long,” Franklin said. “They have different skill sets.”
Michigan State’s Katin Houser was 11 of 19 for 87 and threw an interception to Detroit native Jaylen Reed at the Penn State 9, ending his team’s first drive that wasted its only opportunity to score.
The Spartans were overmatched in each of their four games against highly ranked opponents. They lost 41-7 to Washington, 49-0 against Michigan and 38-3 to Ohio State.
Penn State: Big plays were on display in the second game with running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider and tight ends coach Ty Howle as as interim offensive coordinators, replacing Mike Yurcich, who was fired after the unit scored 15 points in a loss to Michigan.
Allen had a 50-yard run and Singleton had a 53-yard catch in the first half. In the second half, Omari Evans had a 63-yard reception.
Franklin said he will interview candidates to become the team’s offensive coordinator this weekend.
Michigan State: The Harlon Barnett era is likely over. The interim coach was 2-8 in place of Tucker, whom the school fired for having consensual phone sex with an activist and rape survivor.
“Was hoping to compete and finish better than we did,” Barnett said. “I still love these guys and will always love them. A gritty bunch, a resilient bunch and they will always have my love and respect.”
Penn State: Awaits a New Year’s Six bowl as a top-12 team in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Michigan State: Athletic director Alan Haller may hire a new coach as soon as this weekend.