11/20/2023 4:00:00 PM
Nittany Lions meet Spartans on Friday at Ford Field; Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm on NBC
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 12/11/11 Penn State meets Michigan State at Ford Field on Friday in the regular season finale for both teams. The matchup is set to air at 7:30 pm on NBC.
SERIES HISTORY: The Nittany Lions meet Michigan State for the 38th time in program history. The all-time series is yours 18-18-1. Penn State is 17-10 against Michigan State as a member of the Big Ten and has won three of the last four contests. Last season in Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions claimed the Land Grant Trophy with a 35-16 win. Sean Clifford threw for 202 yards and four touchdowns, while Theo Johnson hauled in two touchdown receptions. KeAndre Lambert-Smith caught a 35-yard touchdown pass and threw a 48-yard touchdown to Johnson. Penn State forced three takeaways.
TEAM EFFORT: The Nittany Lions’ defensive depth has shown all season, contributing to chaos behind the line of scrimmage and takeaways. The Nittany Lions lead the country with 18 players owning at least one sack this season. Penn State has 24 players who have made at least one tackle for loss, tied for third-most in the FBS. The blue and white leads the nation with 10 players who have at least one fumble recovery. Penn State also has 10 players with a forced fumble, tied for fourth-most in the nation, and nine players with an interception, tied for sixth-most in the FBS.
CAPITALIZING ON OPPORTUNITIES: Penn State scored 17 points off turnovers against Rutgers, with a field goal and a touchdown following fumble recoveries by Dani Dennis-Sutton and Chop Robinson and a touchdown following an interception by Kevin Winston Jr. On the season, Penn State has caused 23 takeaways, leading to 95 points. The Nittany Lions lead the country averaging 8.91 points off turnovers per game.
THE OPPOSITION: Michigan State picked up its second Big Ten win of the season with a 24-21 victory over Indiana last Saturday. The Spartans tallied 355 total yards. Katin Houser threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Maliq Carr caught seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while Montorie Foster Jr. had seven grabs for 94 yards and a score. Angelo Grose and Malik Spencer led the defense with 10 tackles each.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 108,409: Penn State averaged 108,409 fans in seven home games in 2023, the second-highest single-season average in Beaver Stadium history.
- 1994: The Nittany Lions held Rutgers out of the end zone last Saturday. Rutgers has not scored a touchdown at Beaver Stadium since 1994.
- 94.5: Penn State leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the nation with a 94.5 conversion percentage (52-of-55) in the red zone this season.
- 24: Penn State has limited 16-straight opponents to 24 or less points. It is the nation’s longest active streak.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
- Harlon Barnett was named interim head coach on Sept. 10.
- Barnett is in his 15th year on the Michigan State coaching staff.
- He returned to the Spartans as defensive coordinator in 2020 after spending two years as defensive coordinator at Florida State (2018-19).
- Barnett spent the previous 11 seasons as secondary coach at Michigan State, holding the co-defensive coordinator title from 2015-17 and served as associate head coach in 2017.
- Michigan State is 4-7 overall and 2-6 in the Big Ten this season.
- The Spartans picked up their second Big Ten win of the year with a 24-21 victory over Indiana last Saturday.
- Katin Houser threw for three touchdowns, while Maliq Carr had seven receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns and Montorie Foster Jr. caught seven passes for 94 yards and a score.
- Michigan State ranks 14th in the Big Ten in scoring offense (17.4 ppg), 10th in total offense (309.9 ypg), seventh in passing offense (210.0) and 14th in rushing offense (99.4).
- QB Katin Houser has thrown for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns, while completing 58.7 percent of his passes.
- RB Nate Carter holds fifth in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (68.5) and sixth in total rushing yards (753).
- The Spartans sit 11th in the Big Ten in scoring defense (27.1 ppg), 11th in total defense (371.8 ypg), ninth in rushing defense (140.4) and 12th in passing defense (231.5).
- LB Cal Haladay ranks 10th in the conference averaging 7.4 tackles per game.
- S Jaden Mangham holds third in the league with four interceptions.
- P Ryan Eckley ranks third in the Big Ten with a 45.4 punt average.
- DL Simeon Barrow Jr. has blocked two kicks this season.
WINNER CLAIMS LAND GRANT TROPHY
- When the Penn State-Michigan State series was renewed with the Nittany Lions’ entrance into the Big Ten in 1993, the Land Grant Trophy was established to go to the winner in what was each school’s annual season finale from 1993-2010 and 2014-16 .
- The Land Grant Trophy honors Penn State’s and Michigan State’s unique places in history as the two pioneer Land Grant institutions in the United States.
- Each school was founded in 1855, Michigan State on Feb. 12 and Penn State on Feb. 22. The schools were the prototypes after which the Land Grant system was patterned.
- Each institution brought to American education the new dimensions of service and outreach in addition to education and research.
- The Land Grant Trophy joins the Governor’s Victory Bell, presented to the Penn State-Minnesota victor, as the other trophy the Nittany Lions play for in Big Ten competition.
- Penn State holds a 17-10 advantage in Land Grant Trophy games.
RUTGERS POSTGAME NOTES
- The Nittany Lions have won each of the last 17 matchups.
- Penn State scored 17 points off turnovers.
- The defense kept Rutgers out of the end zone for the fifth-straight game at Beaver Stadium. The Scarlet Knights have not scored a touchdown at Beaver Stadium since joining the Big Ten in 2014, and last scored a TD in Beaver Stadium in 1994.
- The Nittany Lions forced three takeaways with two fumble recoveries and an interception.
- Penn State held Rutgers to 16 passing attempts, tied for the fifth-fewest by an opponent in the James Franklin era. It is the third time this season opponents have attempted 16 or fewer passes against Penn State.