Defense, Special Teams Pace Spartans to 34-10 Victory in Happy Valley

Things got off to a quick start for Michigan State Saturday afternoon, as RJ Shelton returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

Michael Geiger added two field goals, one from 36 and the other from 39 yards out, in the first quarter as the Spartans raced out to a 13-0 lead.

Penn State’s stellar defense dug their heels in for the second quarter, shutting out the Spartans the rest of the half. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, the Spartan defense would only allow a 41 yard field goal from Sam Ficken, who set the school record for field goals made in a season with his 23rd.

Michigan State’s offense got going in the second half as Connor Cook shook off a poor first half throwing the football. He finished with 180 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception.

The rushing attack once again wore down their opponent in the second half as Jeremy Langford rushed for over 100 yards in his school-record 9th consecutive game and his 16th consecutive Big Ten game. He finished with 118 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries against what was the best rushing defense in the nation going into the game.

The Michigan State defense held the Nittany Lions to only 233 total yards, and only 33 on the ground. Trae Waynes had a big interception on Christian Hackenberg in the end zone with 17 seconds left in the first half.

Tony Lippett started at cornerback as well as receiver to become Michigan State’s first two-way starter since 1968, when Allen Brenner started at the same two positions. Lippett had 53 yards receiving and a touchdown and played some quality snaps at corner.

The Spartans improve to 10-2 on the season and 7-1 in Big Ten play. They will wait to see what bowl game they are invited to after next week’s conference championship games.

Dan Tyler is the host of Spartan Red Zone for Impact Sports

Photo: Impact Sports