Nittany Lions Earn Senior Day Win, 39-24, Over Michigan State

Nittany Lions Earn Senior Day Win, 39-24, Over Michigan State

Credit Source: Penn State University Athletics

Penn State dominates second half, 29-3; Clifford accounts for three scores


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State outscored Michigan State, 29-3, in the second half on its way to a 39-24 win on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. A pair of touchdown connections from Sean Clifford to Parker Washington and a punt return touchdown by Jahan Dotson highlighted a big second half.

Sean Clifford completed 17-of-27 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He added 48 rushing yards, including a 31-yard score. Will Levis completed all three of his pass attempts for 54 yards and scored on a 1-yard run. Jahan Dotson caught eight passes for 108 yards, his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season. Dotson also had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. Parker Washington hauled in four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Shane Simmons led the Penn State (3-5, 3-5 Big Ten) defense with a career-high seven tackles, including two for loss and 1.5 sacks. Jaquan Brisker tallied nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception.

Michigan State (2-5, 2-5 Big Ten) quarterback Payton Thorne threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns while completing 22-of-39 passes. Jalen Nailor caught six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Jordon Simmons rushed for 72 yards. On defense, Antjuan Simmons led the Spartans with 10 tackles.

Before the game, Penn State honored seniors TE/H Trevor Baker, S Jaquan Brisker, CB Tariq Castro-Fields, OL Will Fries, K/P Carson Landis, WR Isaac Lutz, OL Michael Menet, DT Antonio Shelton, DE Shane Simmons, DE Shaka Toney, S Lamont Wade, WR Benjamin Wilson.

 Dotson became the third Big Ten player since 2000 to record 100 receiving yards and a punt return touchdown in a game, joining Michigan’s Steve Breaston (2006 vs. Indiana) and Wisconsin’s Brandon Williams (2005 vs. Indiana).

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions got on the board on their opening drive on a 24-yard field goal by Jake Pinegar. Clifford completed four-of-five passes, including completions of 27 and 12 yards to Brenton Strange, to help the Nittany Lions get inside the Michigan State 10-yard line.

Michigan State responded with a touchdown early in the second quarter. Thorne hit Nailor in the end zone for a 45-yard score.

A 37-yard kick return by Lamont Wade jumpstarted Penn State’s ensuing drive. On third-and-4 at the Michigan State 31-yard line, Clifford found a hole up the middle on a draw and went untouched into the end zone.

Michigan State answered with a 26-yard strike from Thorne to Tre’Von Morgan. The Spartans added to their lead with a 7-yard touchdown grab by Nailor in the corner of the end zone. Michigan State led 21-10 at halftime.

Penn State opened the second half with a 75-yard scoring drive. The drive ended as Clifford found Washington in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. KeAndre Lambert-Smith caught a pair of 11-yard passes, while Dotson had three catches for 37 yards. The Nittany Lions converted a two-point conversion as Clifford hit Dotson over the middle.

The Nittany Lions took a 25-24 lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter as Levis scored on a 1-yard run. The drive was boosted by 36-yard completion from Levis to Dotson and a 26-yard completion from Clifford to Washington to setup Penn State at the Michigan State 7-yard line. Two plays later, Levis followed the block of Brenton Strange into the end zone.

After forcing a three-and-out, Penn State extended its lead early in the fourth quarter on a 49-yard strike from Clifford to Washington. Clifford faked a screen pass and found Washington open along the right sideline.

Penn State forced another three-and-out before an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dotson. The junior caught the ball in the middle of the field and found space along the left sideline. Dotson broke a pair of tackles around the Penn State 40-yard line and followed a key downfield block by Isaac Lutz to free him for the final 40 yards.

Up Next
Penn State will play again next week during Big Ten Champions Week. Opponent, kickoff time and television coverage are to be determined.

The 2020 Penn State Football season is presented by PSECU.

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