Much like the trip to Iowa City two weeks ago, Penn State went into East Lansing on Saturday and came out with a highly impressive victory.
The Nittany Lions upended the Spartans 28-7 in a game that was never really close after the first quarter.
Sean Clifford connected with Pat Freiermuth from 16 yards out for the opening score of the game just past the mid-way point of the first quarter.
The two connected again, the second of three times, to open the second quarter. The 19-yard hookup doubled the Penn State advantage.
The Nittany Lions just about put the game to bed with 1:20 remaining in the half when Clifford found KJ Hamler across the middle for a 27-yard connection.
It appeared the Spartans were getting something going in the third quarter before a muffed punt put Penn State back in the red zone. One play later it was Clifford to Freiermuth again and the score was 28-0.
Michigan State did get on the board with 7:34 to play in the third quarter on a four-yard run by Anthony Williams Jr.
Nittany Lions running back Noah Cain left the game early with an apparently lower body injury, as did John Reid, but both walked off under their own power.
Clifford finished the game with just 189 yards passing but went 18 of 32 with four scores.
The Penn State defense was spectacular. Michigan State was held under 300 total yards despite running more than 70 plays. Quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for just 165 yards on 32 attemps and the Spartans averaged just 2.5 yards per carry.
On special teams, Blake Gillikin punted eight times for a 44.3-yard average and had five of those six downed inside the 20.
The Nittany Lions will now likely move into the top five after Kansas State’s upset of Oklahoma. They’ll have a week off before heading to Minnesota for what could be a top-10 matchup between two undefeated teams.