Preview: Penn State at Michigan State

Michigan St Minnesota Football
Brian Lewerke has thrown 14 TD passes for the Spartans.

Penn State , now ranked seventh by both the College Football Playoff selection committee and the Associated Press after its 39-38 loss last week to Ohio State, isn’t the only team coming off a gut-wrenching defeat last weekend.

Michigan State suffered its first Big Ten loss, and saw its chance at the playoff take a huge blow, in a triple-overtime loss to Northwestern. The Spartans (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten), who stand at No. 24 in both rankings, are strong defensively, leading the conference in average rushing yards allowed (89.8 per game) and holding down third place in total defense (283.4 yards per game). The Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-1) scored only 10 points in the second half but still led by 35-20 early in the fourth quarter before J.T. Barrett threw three touchdown passes to finish off the comeback. The Penn State pass rush rarely touched Barrett in the fourth, when he completed all 13 of his throws.

How to follow and watch the game

When: Saturday, noon.

Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.

TV: Fox29

RADIO: 990-AM, WNTP; 1440-AM, WNPV

Twitter: @joejulesinq, @_jillbeckman

Coaches

Penn State, James Franklin (fourth season, 32-16; overall, 56-31); Michigan State, Mark Dantonio (11th season, 96-44; overall, 114-61).

Key players

Penn State: RB Saquon Barkley, 5-11, 230, Jr. (801 yards rushing, 5.8-yard average per carry, 36 receptions for 471 yards, 34.4-yard average on kickoff returns, 206.2-yard average in all-purpose yardage, 14 total TDs); QB Trace McSorley, 6-0, 195, R-Jr. (65.9 percent completion rate, 2,071 yards, 16 TDs, 5 interceptions, 8 TDs rushing); WR DaeSean Hamilton, 6-1, 206, R-Sr. (29 receptions, 494 yards, 5 TDs); WR Juwan Johnson, 6-4, 226, R-So. (30 receptions, 362 yards, 1 TD); TE Mike Gesicki, 6-6, 250, Sr. (30 catches, 285 yards, 4 TDs); LB Jason Cabinda, 6-1, 234, Sr. (59 tackles, 4 tackles for loss); FS Marcus Allen, 6-2, 207, Sr. (51 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception); DE Shareef Miller, 6-5, 257, R-So. (8 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks); CB Amani Oruwariye, 6-1, 209, R-Jr. (3 interceptions); K Tyler Davis, 5-11, 183, R-Sr. (7-14 field goals, long 47).

Michigan State: QB Brian Lewerke, 6-3, 212, So. (61.4 percent completion rate, 1,807 yards, 14 TDs, 4 interceptions, 3 TDs rushing); RB L.J. Scott (511 yards rushing, 4.5-yard average per carry, 4 TDs);  WR Darnell Stewart, 6-2, 210, So. (35 receptions, 362 yards, 1 TDs); WR Felton Davis, 6-4, 195, Jr. (33 receptions, 405 yards, 7 TDs); LB Joe Bachie, 6-2, 233, So. (71 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks); LB Andrew Dowell, 6-1, 222, Jr. (55 tackles); S Khari Willis, 6-0, 215, Jr. (49 tackles, 1 interception); DE Kenny Williams, 6-4, 244, So. (8 ½ tackles for loss, 4 sacks); K Matt Coghlin, 5-9, 188, R-Fr. (7 of 11 field goals, long 46).

Head to head

The teams are playing for the 32nd time, with each team having won 15 times and one game ending in a tie. The Nittany Lions closed their regular season last year with a 45-12 win over Michigan State at Beaver Stadium, clinching the Big Ten East title.

Penn State’s coming games

Saturday, Nov. 11, Rutgers, noon

Saturday, Nov. 18, Nebraska, TBD

Saturday, Nov. 25, at Maryland, TBD

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