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Michigan State stuns Penn State in Big Ten East brawl with 3-hour delay

The Spartans have a path to the Big Ten Championship after winning one of the year’s weirdest games.

Penn State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Fourth quarter

MSU 27, PSU 24, final. PSU got a stop on third down outside field goal range, but a late (and low) hit on MSU QB Brian Lewerke by safety Marcus Allen put the ball just outside the red zone. A few plays later, and seven hours after kickoff (hey, there was a lightning delay), MSU’s 34-yard attempt sailed through the uprights at the buzzer.

With Ohio State’s loss to Iowa, Michigan State-Ohio State next week is for the outright Big Ten East lead.

Matt Coghlin is your Land Grant Trophy hero.

PSU 24, MSU 24, 4:05. Penn State went for it on fourth down from the 31 in grimy, kicker-unfriendly conditions, and the Spartans came up with the stop on the overthrow. Chance to win.

PSU 24, MSU 24, 5:19. INTs traded. Penn State’s was better. Turnover battle: 3-1, Michigan State.

PSU 24, MSU 24, 10:56. A 10-play Michigan State drive full of nine passes (Sure! The Spartans are averaging 2.8 on the ground) ends with a successful boot. Got ourselves a finish coming, nearly seven hours after kickoff.

Third quarter

PSU 24, MSU 21, end of quarter. Hi, would you like to see one of the most wide-open TDs you’ve ever seen? DeAndre Thompkins on first down:

MSU 21, PSU 17, 2:11. A 12-play drive peters out with the game’s first field goal, six-plus hours after it kicked off.

MSU 21, PSU 14, 7:29. The Spartans take their first lead of the day after 19th-year senior L.J. Scott punched in the conclusion to a 10-play, 91-yard drive, led by two nice Hunter Rison catches.

PSU 14, MSU 14, 12:43. Penn State punted! Trace McSorley is 0-of-5 with an INT since the three-hour snacks delay. Saquon Barkley now has positive rushing yardage, though.

Second quarter

PSU 14, MSU 14, halftime. The Spartans remain on a 7-0 run since the three-hour snacks delay. An INT of a Trace McSorley lob and a nice runback by David Dowell set up a penalty-marred drive and a punt inside the five, and ... let’s take another break! The box score’s nice and even all over, other than Penn State’s two turnovers. Saquon Barkley has seven total yards.

PSU 14, MSU 14, 3:54. The Spartans are on a 7-0 run since the three-hour snacks delay.

PSU 14, MSU 7, 7:12. AND WE BACK, three-plus hours later. After the teams spent the pre-halftime enjoying pizza and Chick-fil-A, Michigan State went for a fourth down and got even more stuffed.

PSU 14, MSU 7, 7:58. Still in weather delay, and likely for a while. It’ll evidently remain on Fox when it comes back, with Stanford-Washington State moving to Fox Business Network.

PSU 14, MSU 7, 7:58. Weather delay!

PSU 14, MSU 7, 9:54. Lots and lots of PSU crossing routes. MSU bottles one up on third-and-long, and the defenses have logged on.

PSU 14, MSU 7, 12:51. A nine-yard sack on second-and-1 wrecks a promising Spartans drive, and MSU again punts from near midfield.

First quarter

PSU 14, MSU 7 :42. A decent Penn State drive appeared to be stuffed after a third-and-10 Trace McSorley keeper, but McSorley found Saeed Blacknall for the conversion and then some.

PSU 7, MSU 7, 3:28. MSU’s throwing really well over the middle, like Ohio State did the week prior. Two more big completions on this drive. A TD pass to L.J. Scott was called back, via an offensive lineman being way downfield and blocking Scott’s coverage guy, but Brian Lewerke found Darrell Stewart Jr. to get it back.

PSU 7, MSU 0, 5:40. Saquon Barkley passes sometimes, yeah. Here, he turned the shifted wildcat look that led to a big running TD against Ohio State into a throw:

That was followed by Trace McSorley finding DaeSean Hamilton on a crossing route for the TD to end a 92-yard drive.

PSU 0, MSU 0, 8:45. The Spartans backed themselves into a third-and-21 thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct, but Brian Lewerke found a wide-open Cody White for the conversion. The drive ended with a fourth-and-2 punt from PSU’s 43, smh.

PSU 0, MSU 0, 13:05. Facing steady pressure, PSU’s Trace McSorley heaved a tipped INT on third-and-11, ending a drive that’d efforted its way to midfield, thanks in part to a couple underneath tosses to Saquon Barkley.

An ominous sign: grim weather hovering over the stadium of a team that attempts to play as grimly as possible.

Penn State vs. Michigan State pregame stakes, rankings, and news

The first of seven ranked vs. ranked games this Saturday: No. 7 Penn State heads to No. 24 Michigan State with Playoff hopes intact, but shaky, after a late collapse at Ohio State.

The Buckeyes now control the Big Ten East, with high-flying Penn State needing some help to make the Big Ten Championship. But couldn’t the Nittany Lions jump into the Playoff without a division title, as Ohio State did last year? Well, remember those Buckeyes had a road win at Oklahoma. Penn State has no such boost this year.

A big road win at Michigan State would be a nice addition to the resume for now.

For the defense-first Spartans, a home upset win would mean outright second place in the Big Ten East, with a trip to Ohio State coming up next week. With two stunners in a row, the Spartans could seize control.

Who’s the pick?

From Bill Connelly’s S&P+ picks:

No. 7 Penn State 26, No. 24 Michigan State (+8.5) 22

Two interesting Las Vegas trends clash

James Franklin covers as a favorite. Mark Dantonio covers as an underdog, and often wins.

The No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions are 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread in their last five games as a road favorite. The Nittany Lions hope to extend this winning streak and bounce back from last week's loss with a road win over the No. 24 Michigan State Spartans, who are 13-10 SU and 17-5-1 ATS as underdogs since Sept. 2011.

Heisman Trophy stakes

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley enters as your Heisman favorite.

Barkley certainly has the highlights, but trails Love by 42 in scrimmage yards per game and Adams by 1.5 in scrimmage yards per touch. Special teams yards seem to have boosted Barkley more than they did Christian McCaffrey in 2015, but now we’re talking about #EastCoastBias.

Can Michigan State’s top-10 defense bottle him up like Ohio State’s did (and Northwestern’s and Indiana’s mostly did)?

How can Michigan State score the upset?

Michigan State blog The Only Colors explains:

Containing the run: Hey, I never said some of these won’t be obvious. Saquon Barkley, who’s been out to end the college football world one snap at a time, will be the man to stop on Saturday. If he’s not stopped, well, you can scrap this whole plan. Luckily, this is in the realm of possibility as MSU hasn’t allowed a running back to scamper for more than 65 yards this season.

The pressure’s on Penn State.

Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries on the bounceback:

James Franklin and the players say they've moved on, but emotion dumps are real and this could be a really tough week a practice for the Nittany Lions trying to get up for the Spartans. Combine that with no Ryan Bates, no Ryan Buchholz and a noon kick on the road and I think this has all the makings of a really, really rough game for Penn State. I think they do enough to get the job done, but it won't be pretty and they'll likely have fans cursing at the television for much of the game.

Also on the line: the absolutely gorgeous Land Grant Trophy