(Saturday, November 21st)
Final Score: (13) Penn State 42, Michigan State 14
East Lansing, MI (Sports Network) - Daryll Clark threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns, as 13th-ranked Penn State used an explosive third quarter on the way to a 42-14 win over Michigan State in both teams' regular-season finale.
Three of Clark's touchdown throws came during the third quarter, in which the Nittany Lions (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) outscored the Spartans 28-0.
Clark completed 19-of-27 passes, while Evan Royster ran for 114 yards on 13 carries for Penn State, which closed the 2009 campaign with two consecutive wins. The Lions now await a bowl selection, though they won't be making a return trip to the Rose Bowl, as Ohio State claimed the conference title and had already claimed the Big Ten's spot in that bowl.
Graham Zug and Andrew Quarless each caught two touchdown passes in the victory.
"We had trouble with some pass protection early, once we had a couple things where we could move some people around and the blitzes, we felt we could beat them deep," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said. "The receivers, we had time, and they're pretty good. Of course, Clark had a good game."
Kirk Cousins completed 16-of-28 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. He was also picked off twice as the Spartans (6-6, 4-4) had a two-game win streak broken, but are likely headed for a third consecutive bowl appearance.
The game was tied at halftime, but Penn State came out hot in the third quarter, scoring quickly on the frame's opening possession. Stephfon Green set the Lions up in prime territory with a 37-yard return, and Clark completed a 22-yard pass to Derek Moye before a roughing-the-passer call got the ball to the MSU 14. On the next play, a halfback pass, Curtis Drake found Quarless between two defenders for a score, less than a minute into the quarter.
Penn State then started a drive with just under eight minutes left and scored in just three plays. Royster ran for 30 yards on the second play before Clark found Joe Suhey for a 30-yard TD pass and a 21-7 PSU lead.
Nick Sukay intercepted Cousins on the ensuing Michigan State drive, as the Lions took over at the Spartans' 32. Clark found Zug for a score on the first play to start turning the game into a blowout.
Cousins was again picked off, this time by Sean Lee, and Penn State started its final scoring drive of the third at the MSU 43.
"Instead of just staying patient and letting the game still come to me," Cousins said. "I just tried to do too much to try and get it back so fast that I was trying to make plays where there weren't plays there to be made."
Again Clark went to Zug, and the 27-yard TD pass pushed the Lions' lead to 35-7 with just 15 seconds left in the third.
The game was essentially decided in that quarter, and Kevin Newsome's one-yard run with 2:53 left in the contest provided PSU's final score. Keith Nichol found Keshawn Martin on a 71-yard catch-and-run with 1:44 left to account for the final margin.
Neither team scored in a punt-filled first quarter, and Penn State got on the board first, late in the second.
The Nittany Lions drove 56 yards in five plays, and the progression ended on Clark's 29-yard pass to Quarless.
Michigan State countered with its own score, an 11-yard pass from Cousins to Charlie Gantt.
Penn State leads the all-time series, 14-12-1. The Lions defeated the Spartans by a 49-18 score at home last season...Nichol ended 4-of-5 for 84 yards for MSU...Zug had four catches for 99 yards, while Quarless caught four passes for 62...Edwin Baker led the Spartans with 48 rushing yards on nine carries.
11/21 21:44:55 ET