Penn State handles Michigan State; Freiermuth catches 3 TD passes |
Penn State

Penn State handles Michigan State; Freiermuth catches 3 TD passes

Associated Press
Penn State’s Jan Johnson, right, hits Michigan State’s Darrell Stewart (25) in the end zone on an attempted pass reception during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth (right) pushes past Michigan State’s Xavier Henderson (center) and David Dowell for a second-quarter touchdown.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Pat Freiermuth scored the game’s first two touchdowns.

Turned out that was all No. 6 Penn State really needed against Michigan State’s anemic offense.

Freiermuth and the Nittany Lions would add more points later, and unbeaten Penn State beat the Spartans, 28-7, on Saturday. Sean Clifford threw four touchdown passes on a rainy day, and the Nittany Lions avenged close losses to Michigan State from each of the past two seasons.

“I’m very excited that we’re undefeated still, and that’s the only goal I’ve had all season and I plan on going through the whole season doing that,” Clifford said.

College Videos

The Spartans (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) wrapped up a dreadful stretch in which they lost to Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State by a combined score of 100-17.

Penn State (8-0, 5-0) moves on to a surprising matchup of undefeated teams Nov. 9 at Minnesota. The Nittany Lions had lost five of their previous six against Michigan State.

Clifford’s first touchdown pass to Freiermuth, a 16-yarder, opened the scoring in the first quarter, and those same two players gave Penn State a 13-0 lead with a 19-yard strike in the second. KJ Hamler’s 27-yard TD catch with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the half — plus a successful 2-point conversion — made it 21-0.

A fumbled punt by Michigan State set up Clifford’s 6-yard touchdown toss to Freiermuth in the third quarter. Then the Spartans finally scored for the first time in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 2 seconds of game time. Brian Lewerke found Cody White for a 49-yard pass, and Anthony Williams scored on a 4-yard run.

“From my perspective, we need to execute better,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “There are things that we can do from a call situation, but we’ve got the same — a lot of the same plays are the same plays that other people run as well, timing and who to go to and those type of things. But we’ll look at everything.”

The Nittany Lions hadn’t won the Land Grant Trophy that often recently, but they had an easy time Saturday. Last weekend, Penn State nearly let a 21-point lead slip away in a win over Michigan. The Nittany Lions had no problems holding on to their big advantage against the Spartans.

“We were able to score enough early on in the first half before things got too messy to be able to get a win. I’m pleased with that,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “The bye week is coming at a tremendous time for us.”

Penn State defensive tackle Antonio Shelton was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected in the fourth quarter. The Nittany Lions had nine penalties for 104 yards.

The was the third time in school history that Michigan State played three straight games against teams in the AP top 10. It didn’t go any better the previous two times. In 1970, the Spartans lost 29-0 to Notre Dame, 29-0 to Ohio State and 34-20 to Michigan. The 1972 Michigan State team lost 51-6 to USC, 16-0 to Notre Dame and 10-0 to Michigan.

“We just got to loosen up,” Michigan State linebacker Antjuan Simmons said. “We carry a lot of pressure, put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We want to be the best. It kind of wears on you. We had to go back to the basics, just have fun, just trusting our job. Second half, I feel for the most part, we did that. We competed.”

With No. 5 Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State, Penn State has a chance to move up when the AP releases its next Top 25 on Sunday.

Categories: Sports | Penn State
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.