END OF GAME (Josh): And that’s it. The game is over; the season is over. Penn State may still be able to get a good bowl. It may finish with double-digit wins. But it won’t get a spot in the College Football Playoff. That dream is dead. FINAL: Michigan State 27, Penn State 24.
:04 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): And here we go. Here’s everything. If the Spartans make this field-goal attempt, the game is over and so is Penn State’s hope at a College Football Playoff berth. If they miss, Penn State’s season hinges on OT.
:49 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Third down, PSU stops Michigan State — but it’s roughing the passer. That penalty against Marcus Allen keeps the drive going. That could be it for the Nittany Lions. MSU is now in field-goal range.
1:33 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Ohio State is somehow trailing Iowa 48-17. If Penn State wins this, a conference title berth is still a distinct possibility. But MSU is going to try to take this out of the PSU offense’s hands. It’s up to the Penn State defense now. It’s the inverse situation against Iowa. If the defense steps up here, PSU wins. If it doesn’t, PSU loses.
4:05 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Turnover on downs for Penn State. Another momentum swing. On fourth-and-3, McSorley’s pass to Thompkins fell incomplete. Thompkins couldn’t reel in the high pass, as it smacked off his hands. We’re still tied in East Lansing. The season is on the line. PSU’s goal at a College Football Playoff berth isn’t going to happen with two losses.
7:28 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Momentum change. This time, on Penn State’s side. Amani Oruwariye came down with a big pick there, giving Trace McSorley another chance to atone. That was MSU’s first turnover of the game.
7:53 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Now it’s momentum on MSU’s side. That’s McSorley’s third interception, the first time that’s happened since the Rose Bowl.
10:56 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Make that 24-24 now. The momentum just keeps going back and forth; it’s enough to make a TV viewer dizzy.
11:50 left in 4th Quarter (Josh): Michigan State’s Felton Davis looks like the Heisman contender out there today. He’s up to 11 catches for 172 yards. MSU is driving once more and, once again, we’re at a crucial third down. PSU hasn’t had a good track record in these situations today.
No time left in 3rd Quarter (Josh): Well, that escalated quickly. A 71-yard pass from McSorley to DeAndre Thompkins means that the Nittany Lions will head into the final period with a 24-21 lead. It’s still going to be a nail-biter — but the Nittany Lions are finally on the right side of it.
:05 left in 3rd Quarter (Josh:) Third-and-20 — and Lewerke nearly converted that. LB Brandon Smith was there to stop him. PSU desperately needed a stop there, and now it’ll take over on its own 29 after a punt. Penn State fans, get your blood-pressure medication ready. It’s going to be another nail-biter of a fourth quarter.
2:15 left in 3rd Quarter (Josh): The good news for Penn State fans is that the offense appears to have broken out of its funk. The bad news? That nice breakup on third-and-3 is going to mean PSU has to settle for a 26-yard field goal. PSU trails 21-17. Now, the bigger question: Can Penn State stop Lewerke?
7:25 left in 3rd Quarter (Josh): Here we go. MSU leads 21-14 and, now, the offense is going to fall on the shoulders of Trace McSorley. If he can’t pull this together, it’s going to be another loss. He had 193 passing yards in the first 23 minutes of the game. In the last 14 minutes? Zilch.
8:05 left in 3rd Quarter (Josh): I ask again: What’s wrong with this third-down defense? Even when PSU blitzes, the defense is still getting beat. That last pass was beautiful by Brian Lewerke. It’s just such an odd dynamic here. Lewerke doesn’t appear to be having any problems with the rain or wind. McSorley’s last nine passes have fallen incomplete.
9:52 left in 3rd Quarter (Josh): What on earth is wrong with Penn State’s third-down defense? The Spartans have now converted a third-and-18 and a third-and-19. It’s as if three Nittany Lions had to misplay the ball there, as Felton Davis has been a thorn in the secondary’s side all day. He has nine catches for 153 yards; that’s more than half of MSU’s passing yardage.
Well, it’s pouring at Spartan Stadium, and those few series after the weather delay were forgettable — save for a nice touchdown pass from Brian Lewerke. Here are three halftime takeaways:
▪ DaeSean Hamilton might be the best route-runner in the Big Ten.
The senior has an uncanny ability to get open out of the slot and take advantage of those opportunities, and that’s showing today.
The middle of the field was wide-open for Trace McSorley to find Hamilton in the first quarter. In the first stanza, Hamilton racked up 82 receiving yards on four catches, including a 31-yard touchdown grab.
Expect Hamilton to be heavily involved in the second half.
▪ McSorley’s doing a fine job of spreading the ball around. A total of seven Nittany Lions recorded a catch or more in the first half.
Some of them are the usual suspects: Hamilton, Mike Gesicki, DeAndre Thompkins, the works. But Jon Holland and Irvin Charles got in on the action, too.
This weather might force Penn State to move away from the passing game, but it’s what led to the Nittany Lions’ two touchdowns.
▪ Neither of these teams seem willing to run it.
McSorley and Lewerke have combined for 410 passing yards. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions and Spartans’ running games have been non-existent. Penn State has one rushing yard on nine carries, while Michigan State’s managed 23 yards on 11 attempts.
▪ Bonus takeaway: Weather delays are not fun.
:45 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): A block in the back and a reply review helped keep the Spartans off the board, and the Nittany Lions have to breathe a big sigh of relief on that one. It’s 14-14 right now, and PSU can reset at halftime.
:54 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): McSorley hasn’t completed a pass since the game resumed, but it hasn’t been all his fault. Two of his intended targets dropped the ball. Still, the INT obviously proved costly. MSU is already near the red zone, and the Nittany Lions would have to be ecstastic heading into halftime with a tie game. That looks less and less likely, however.
3:08 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): That was just about the worst drive that could’ve happened to Penn State, outside of a turnover. Bad kick return, dropped pass, run that went nowhere and an incomplete pass. Yikes. At least it was a good punt by Blake Gillikin.
3:54 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): Felton Davis with a diving 33-yard TD catch to tie up the game. Doesn’t look like the break impacted QB Brian Lewerke much. He’s 15 of 21 for 210 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. PSU’s passing defense needs to find an answer for Lewerke ... which is not something I thought I’d type a few weeks ago.
7:12 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): That stop is HUGE for the momentum at after this game has been on break for so long. MSU is stuffed on fourth-and-1, as the Nittany Lions will have some breathing room now with a one-touchdown lead and the ball on its own 34.
7:42 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): The game is back on! It’s back on! And PSU now facing a critical fourth-and-1 situation on defense.
Weather delay (Josh): Woooo! It’s now game on at 4:38 p.m. So, yeah, keep track of this is like trying to keep track of Ezekiel Elliott’s NFL suspension. The game was delayed at 1:15 p.m. and was expected to resume at 4 or 4:15 p.m. Then it was pushed to 5:30 p.m. — and, now, at 4:38 p.m. So we will at least have a football game to watch. Soon. Allegedly.
Weather delay (Josh): Will this game ever start again? The contest — Penn State is playing Michigan State in case you’ve forgotten; it has been a while — is now expected to resume at 5:30 p.m. It was supposed to resume at 4-4:15. Now 5:30 and next ... well ... hopefully it’ll be 5:30. This noon game is turning into a night game really quickly.
Weather delay (Josh): Well ... this is a new one. The weather delay, which starts around 1:15 p.m., could last until 4 p.m., officials are saying. Looks as if we’re taking a break from this live blog for now. If only this were at Beaver Stadium — it’s nice and sunny over here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Weather delay (Josh): It looks as if this one is going to last quite a while. Take a look at the update here.
7:58 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): And now, due to lightning in the area, there will be a weather delay. And, understandably, the crowd boos. The earliest this game can resume is 30 minutes from now, or 1:46 p.m. That’s a best-case scenario. You have to wait until there’s been no lightning for 30 minutes.
7:58 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): Total number of passing yards, by both teams, so far today: 372. Rushing yards: 11. That’s ... interesting. Can’t say that was expected.
12:51 left in 2nd Quarter (Josh): The Spartans deserve to be booed after that third-and-long run-call. But Penn State will sure take it. Yetur Gross-Matos had his first career sack on that drive, and the Nittany Lions are starting to get rolling here. Will we see Saquon Barkley finally get into the gameplan here?
Start of 2nd Quarter (Josh): Quite the passing contest so far. McSorley is 11 of 18 for 171 yards, while Lewerke is 9 of 12 for 111 yards. And, yes, it’s just the start of the second quarter. Saquon Barkley has 14 total yards so far — 13 receiving yards on two catches, and one rushing yard on three carries.
:42 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Can you say “turning point”? Even if they didn’t convert there, you have to love the decision to go for it there on fourth down. With the way the field-goal unit has been this season, and going against the wind, that 44-yard attempt had to be a low-percentage shot. So, instead of a missed FG, Saeed Blacknall catches it short of the first-down markers but shakes off several would-be tacklers for the 27-yard TD. I thought he was barely going to get the first; that was one heck of an effort. PSU up once more, 14-7.
3:28 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Troy Apke got beat on that TD, but the Spartans didn’t even face a third down on that 52-yard drive. It’s now all tied up, 7-7. The thing with Michigan State is you never know what Brian Lewerke is going to show up, but the inconsistent QB has looked sharp so far. He’s 8 of 10 for 90 yards and a score.
4:14 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Oh my, Penn State might’ve gotten a bad call on pass interference — but MSU just gave the Nittany Lions a big break there. A long MSU touchdown is taken off the board after an ineligible man donwfield. And, yes, it was obvious. And, yes, it wouldn’t have been a TD without the penalty. But big nonetheless.
4:48 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): That was a tough PI call on Penn State — there’s no way that intended receiver could’ve made that catch if he were all alone. We’ll see if MSU can capitalize here.
5:40 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Wasn’t a great five minutes ... but, hey, not a bad 10 minutes. Trace McSorley marches down the field to rebound after the pick and lead PSU to a 7-0 lead. DaeSean Hamilton has 46 yards and a TD so far; McSorley is 7 of 11 for 99 yards. McSorley is now tied with Christian Hackenberg for most career passing TDs (48) at Penn State.
5:55 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Marcus Allen referred to this clip a few weeks ago once Saquon Barkley showed off his arm. Worth a look here too:
10:40 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Third-and-19 — and the Spartans make it? Oh boy ... it seems as if the only down MSU can do anything is third down. If you’re a Penn State fan, the first five minutes of this game have to have you worried right now. The defense is letting up uncharacteristic plays, and Trace McSorley was a little rusty. Again, plenty left to be played and everything — but definitely far from a solid start.
13:05 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Not a good end to the first drive by McSorley. A lot is going to fall on his shoulders today and, if he has an off-day, this whole offense will. He overthrew a wide-open DeAndre Thompkins for what would’ve likely been a 9-yard gain and, shortly thereafter, tossed an interception while overthrowing another intended target on the run. That last throw wasn’t an easy one and it shouldn’t hurt PSU too much — it was third-and-long anyway, and MSU takes over on its own territory — but still not the kind of start you’d like to see from him.
14:46 left in 1st Quarter (Josh): Hey all, Josh Moyer here. McGonigal is on site at Michigan State, while I’m back home in Happy Valley. We’ll be going back and forth here. Anyway, we’re 14 seconds into this game — and Mike Gesicki already has one nice catch. Something tells me that won’t be the last one. McSorley had an incredible 376-yard passing performance in this meeting last season, and he’ll have his chances again today.
15 Minutes Before Gametime (John): For a minute there, it was pouring at Spartan Stadium — and then it stopped. Still, weather could be a factor throughout the afternoon. Football-wise, it might make things more difficult on Michigan State, which has fumbled 23 times this season. It could also affect turnout. Here’s the scene 15 minutes from kick. It’s kind of dead for a ranked matchup. But to be fair, it is a noon kick.
30 Minutes Before Gametime (John): A couple personnel notes from Spartan Stadium: left tackle Ryan Bates and defensive end Ryan Buchholz did not make the trip. Bates’s leg was accidentally rolled up on by Saquon Barkley out in Columbus, and Buchholz was carted off on the first defensive play of the game against Ohio State. In warmups, the first-team offensive line, from left to right, was Will Fries, Steven Gonzalez, Connor McGovern, Brendan Mahon and Chasz Wright. Nelson is also warming up, so he could rotate in with Wright. As for Buchholz’s spot, Shaka Toney will be a factor — but don’t expect him to play as many snaps as he did last week. He was worn down by the fourth quarter last week, and James Franklin recognized that at his Tuesday press conference. Kevin Givens should get some run at end.
60 Minutes Before Gametime (John): Well, well, well — senior tackle Andrew Nelson was spotted warming up before today’s game. With Ryan Bates’ expected absence at left tackle, the addition of Nelson would be welcomed for the Nittany Lions. The Hershey native, who has 28 career starts under his belt, hasn’t played since the Sept. 23 game at Iowa. Nelson didn’t necessarily play well at Kinnick Stadium, and he didn’t travel to Northwestern or Ohio State. But injury-plagued Nelson, if healthy, could provide a boost against the Spartans.
90 Minutes Before Gametime (John): Greetings folks from Spartan Stadium. It’s a chilly day in East Lansing, which makes sense because, you know, it’s November. The stadium is surrounded by campus buildings and is just a few minutes walk from the Beaumont Tower, a Michigan State landmark built in 1928. Little history lesson: The tower marks the site of College Hall — the first building in America built for instruction in scientific agriculture. Anyway, the Nittany Lions are here and ready to warm up. Senior wideout DaeSean Hamilton and a few others are already on the field, jogging it out and tossing the ball around. I’ll be here providing commentary leading up to today’s game, while CDT sports editor Josh Moyer will take over once the game gets underway. Stay tuned for updates.
Who: No. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State
Where: Spartan Stadium
TV/Radio: FOX/WQWK 1450
Previews: Click here