Another week, another heartbreaking loss for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Following Saturday’s 21-17 loss against the Michigan State Spartans, the Nittany Lions have lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2014 to fall to 4-2 on the season.
Twitter started to light up before kickoff on Saturday. As part of the homecoming festivities, former Nittany Lion linebacker Michael Mauti was an honorary team captain Saturday afternoon. A guy a named Saquon Barkley was in the house, too.
Michael Mauti is out as Penn State's honorary captain this afternoon. The Nittany Lions win the coin toss but defer, and Michigan State will get the ball first. pic.twitter.com/js6lP2CBSh— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 13, 2018
Oh, and don’t forget that Saturday was the 2018 stripe out game.
It's a stripe out in State College...where Michigan State and Penn State meet in a key Big Ten East division clash.— Kevin Kugler (@kevinkugler) October 13, 2018
I'm with @JLaurinaitis55 and @LisaByington right now on @BigTenNetwork. pic.twitter.com/lruI314DAG
Once the game started, it did not take Trace McSorley long to make history. On Penn State’s second possession of the game, the redshirt senior quarterback surpassed Christian Hackenberg as the program’s all-time leading passer.
@McSorley_IX is just a straight stud. Can do it all. Congrats on becoming the all time leading passer!— Brandon Carbaugh (@B_Carbaugh) October 13, 2018
Trace McSorley is the best quarterback to ever play at Penn State. What a warrior. What a leader. #WeAre— Batfan (@flyeaglez_fly) October 13, 2018
Unfortunately for McSorley, not much else would go right for him in the loss. In arguably the worst game of his prolific collegiate career McSorley went just 19/32 for 192 yards and a touchdown, he also rushed for 37 yards but averaged just 2.8 yards per carry.
While McSorley struggled in the loss, junior running back Miles Sanders did not. Facing a Spartan rush defense that entered the day as the best in the FBS, Sanders rushed for 162 yards and a score while averaging 9.5 yards per carry. This included a new career best 78 yard rush for Sanders.
Miles Sanders !!— Michael Biddle (@Yaboibiddle) October 13, 2018
Miles Sanders— K.S (@K_Scriv24) October 13, 2018
Miles Sanders— Austin Apelquist (@ApplePSU24) October 13, 2018
Miles....that’s not fair— Greg (@craigzelanskay) October 13, 2018
Miles sanders just showed everyone he’s the real deal after that run— Nate Titus (@NTitus_36) October 13, 2018
Quietly, Sanders has grown into one of the best running backs in the Big Ten.
Penalties played a key role in Penn State’s defeat. Of the six penalties the Nittany Lions committed, none may have been bigger than the unsportsmanlike conduct call on CJ Thorpe in the second quarter. After the Nittany Lion defense stuffed the Spartan offense on three consecutive plays from inside the 2-yard line to set up a 4th and goal, Thorpe was flagged for ‘retaliating’ after being poked in the eye. On the following play, Michigan State scored to tie the game.
Watched CJ Thorpe Penalty....they always catch the second guy. Sparty player straight Three Stooges him in the eyes.— Drew English (@yeti47) October 13, 2018
Sit CJ Thorpe for a long damn time.— Spooky Kait Dividock (@kaitdivi) October 13, 2018
CJ Thorpe unfortunately lives up to his reputation of playing past the whistle and he was warned on the previous play. Dumb penalty. James Franklin rightfully chewed him out.— Paul Roberts (@PaulRobertsWEEU) October 13, 2018
That touchdown was squarely on CJ Thorpe and the official from 20 yards away who threw the flag while the other official was coming in to tell him to knock it off. The B10 officials are at it again.......— TheSportsOutlook (@SportsFool0416) October 13, 2018
Damn it #69— Jason (@Jkauf55) October 13, 2018
Speaking of penalties, Saturday’s crew demonstrated why Big Ten officials have such a poor reputation. Some ticky tacky at best calls went against Penn State, while Michigan State got away with more than a few blatant holding calls. Rightfully so, Nittany Lion fans were not pleased.
“Penn State walked onto the field.. 15 yard penalty. Give Michigan State an extra 30 points while I’m here.” - These refs— Joey (@Joey_Vaughan33) October 13, 2018
I’ve never seen such atrocious officiating @bigten - these refs are literally changing the game calling a defensive holding on @wild_windzor on 4th & 2 which totally changes the game! Sickening @PennStateFball PLEASE COMPLAIN @coachjfranklin I am having flashbacks to last year...— Kevin Gance (@kevingance) October 13, 2018
Even the PSAC refs don’t make calls that bad. #PennState— TJLS on The Pa Sports Network (@JoeLodanosky) October 13, 2018
Refs having a good game today vs penn state what a joke— Adam Morgan (@2adammorgan) October 13, 2018
It was a mixed bag for Penn State’s secondary in the loss. For the most part, Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke and play making receiver Felton Davis were contained. Two big reasons for this were cornerback John Reid and safety Garrett Taylor. Both of whom played the best games of their 2018 seasons.
This is the John Reid I love and missed— Rajon Kierondo (@KMASON21) October 13, 2018
John Reid has his swagger back— Clay Sauertieg (@ByCSauertieg) October 13, 2018
I think John Reid has fully shaken off that rust— Dave (@Dave_K6) October 13, 2018
GARRETT TAYLOR WITH THE INTERCEPTION!!!— Sports Fanatic (@sportsislife26) October 13, 2018
I want Garrett Taylor near every tipped ball from now on...if possible— Matt (@_mattydeechrick) October 13, 2018
Garrett Taylor has been awesome today. Defense playing really well.— Chris Jordan (@BrycJordanChris) October 13, 2018
It was not all good for the Nittany Lion secondary, though. Redshirt senior Amani Oruwariye dropped three potential interceptions, including one of the second play on Michigan State’s game winning drive that hit him right in the chest and would have sealed victory for Penn State. Oruwariye was also beaten by Davis for the game winning touchdown with just :19 seconds left.
Amani Oruwariye was more of a liability in defense that drive than Ryan Gosling in Remember the Titans— Isaac Hertzog (@isaachertzog) October 13, 2018
A month ago I said Amani Oruwariye can either win or lose a game for @psufootball. Today he lost them the game— Zach (@BrechbielZach) October 13, 2018
Amani Oruwariye dropped INT right to him that would have ended game.— Cory Giger (@CoryGiger) October 13, 2018
Them Amani gets beat on go-ahead TD.
That's a tough finish for PSU's best D-back.
As awful as this game was for PSU, Oruwariye simply needs to catch a ball that hit him in the gut or, we simply need one first down.— Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23) October 14, 2018
Oruwariye drops clinching INT, then gets burnt on game winning TD. He is not elite.— Cahoon (@cahoon_ramen) October 13, 2018
@McSorley_IX I’m sorry Amani Oruwariye and the rest of your team wasted your senior year. Love ya— Jeff Stickler (@jeffstick41) October 13, 2018
Arguably the most frustrating part of Saturday’s defeat is how many times Michigan State tried to give the game away. Between a poor decision to run a fake field goal gone awry, Mark Dantonio punting while trailing inside the two minute mark, and an erratic day from Lewerke.
Should Michigan State have tried a fake field goal? pic.twitter.com/PnHLtEYt0s— Joe Tansey (@JTansey90) October 13, 2018
Who runs a fake field goal to, wait for it.... a defensive tackle?— Thomas (@thomas_cook11) October 13, 2018
What an embarrassment. Absolute embarrassment. Brian Lewerke is god awful and the defense allowed him to march right down the field. He might have had the worst completion % to ever win a game. What a joke— Ryan Hickey (@Ryan_Hickey3) October 13, 2018
What is Michigan State doing? 4th and 10...down 3...and you punt? What?— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) October 13, 2018
Following the loss, many Nittany Lion fans were upset with offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne. As was the case following the team’s loss against Ohio State two weeks ago, questionable play calling from Rahne can be pointed at as a big reason for the team’s loss against the Spartans.
@RickyRahne calls plays like someone that is afraid to call plays— JW (@TweetlessWhit) October 13, 2018
FIRE RICKY RAHNE— Goldman Snachs (@Lindquistt21) October 14, 2018
@RickyRahne 2 weeks to gameplan and this is what u come up with? Do us all a favor and leave PSU. U stink and are in over ur head.— Skeeter Dee (@SkeeterDee23) October 14, 2018
also someone please fire ricky rahne... a 7 year old playing madden could call better plays then him— Aidan (@aidandaniels7) October 14, 2018
Ricky Rahne should be fired after calling a fade on 3rd & 2 and also everything else he’s done. It’s like he didn’t pay attention to a single thing Joe Moorhead said or did.— Michael Fliegelman (@MFliegelman) October 13, 2018
The now 4-2 Nittany Lions will look to get back on track when they travel to Memorial Stadium in Bloomington (IN) to battle the 4-3 Indiana Hoosiers at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon.