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Penn State 39, Michigan State 24: What Twitter Had To Say

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On Saturday afternoon, for one of the few times this season, Penn State Twitter was a fun place to be

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was senior day at Beaver Stadium. While it did not feature the norm celebrations a senior day holds, it did not make it any less of a special day for the Nittany Lion seniors. Especially with the team picking up a 39-24 victory over Michigan State.

The 2020 group of seniors included a pair of redshirt senior defensive linemen — Shane Simmons and Antonio Shelton — who had strong showings. For both Simmons and Shelton, their strong games began on the game’s opening drive when Simmons for his first sack and Shelton is first tackle for a loss.

It was great to see a pair of redshirt seniors, especially one like Simmons as both he and his family have been great ambassadors for the program, make splash plays on senior day. Simmons recorded a pair of sacks while Shelton finished the game with multiple TFLs.

With Penn State trailing early in the 2nd quarter, Sean Clifford broke off a 31-yard touchdown run to get the Nittany Lions back in front. This was his third touchdown run this season of 25+ yards.

Entering the game Michigan State was one of the worst offenses in the Big Ten. They were averaging 20.4 PPG and had not scored more than 29 in a game. Well, after the Nittany Lions allowed 21 first half points fans were not happy with Brent Pry and the defense.

To the credit of Pry and company, the Nittany Lion defense was much improved in the second half. They held the Spartans to just 3 second half points and 147 yards. The defense was also able to generate a consistent pass rush throughout the second half.

Starting with Penn State’s first drive of the second half, wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington, as they have done so often this season, started to step up and make plays for the Nittany Lion offense.

Dotson caught 8 passes for 108 yards, while Washington hauled in 4 passes for 95 yards and a pair of scores. If Dotson returns for his senior season, he, Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith should give Penn State one of the best wide receiver trios in the Big Ten next season.

Dotson also had an impressive 81-yard punt return touchdown. On the return he broke a tackle, made a few defenders miss and then just out ran the Spartan punt unit.

This made Dotson just the second player to ever return a punt for a touchdown in the Land Grant Trophy game, joining fellow Penn State wide receiver Bryant Johnson who did so in 2002.

It was also another productive game for Will Levis, both in the Falcon package and in regular offensive formations. Levis completed all three of his pass attempts for 54 yards, while he rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown.

As is the norm, Levis was physical. He ran over and through Michigan State defenders, and undoubtedly punished a few Spartans along the way.

While the plan is for Penn State to play one more game next weekend that remains to be seen. If they do not it was great to see the Nittany Lions finish the season on a three-game winning streak. No matter what happens next weekend, James Franklin, his staff, and these players deserve a ton of credit for not folding up shop and punting on the rest of the season when they were 0-5. This strong finish will do nothing but build confidence and momentum entering the offseason.