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Three Takeaways From No. 11 Penn State’s 35-16 Win Over Michigan State

The Nittany Lions are guaranteed a top 10 finish with the win against the Spartans.

Dec 12, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Benjamin Wilson (84) carries the Land-Grant trophy into the team tunnel following the completion of the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan State 39-24. Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lions capped off another 10-win season with a victory against the Spartans. With losses against other teams in the top 10, the Lions are guaranteed to finish in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings, giving themselves a great shot at a New Year’s Six bid. Here are your takeaways from the game.

1. Another slow start

The Nittany Lions had another slow start on offense, getting nothing out of a fumble inside Michigan State territory to start the game. The Lions were able to pick up the pace as the game went along, doing just enough on offense to keep Michigan State at arm’s length.

Sean Clifford had 13 consecutive completions to finish the game, ending with 202 yards and four touchdowns.

2. Aggressive defense, part 4

Barring some impressive plays by Michigan State the second half to make the game more interesting than it should have been, the Penn State defense was once again all over the opposing offense. They had plenty of plays that should have been turnovers, but Kalen King finally came away with one when it mattered most, sealing the game with a late interception.

3. Dreaming of the New Year’s Six

With losses by Oregon (to Oregon State) and Clemson (to South Carolina), the Nittany Lions should, at worst, inertia their way into the top 10. This puts the Lion in great position to get a New Year’s Six bid, which would serve as a great end to a pretty good season.