Actual Score: 42-14 (PSU)
Wow, this is one time I am happy to be completely wrong. For a half it looked like the offense was left back in Happy Valley but then WR Curtis Drake took an end around pitch and lobbed a 14 yard touchdown pass to TE Andrew Quarless and Penn State blew up. Graham Zug and Quarless each had two touchdowns as Daryll Clark had a career day throwing for 310 yards, 4 TD's and no picks. With the lone exception of the Bend and then Break Our Hearts defense right before half, allowing for a then game tying score, the defense was aggressive and held Kirk Cousins to only 155 yards in the air and picked him off twice. Navorro Bowman had a huge day making 10 tackles, 3.5 behind the line of scrimmage a sack and a pass breakup. For their efforts, Clark and Bowman were named Big Ten Player(s) of the Week.
Sluggish for most of the first half, the offense made adjustments at halftime and routed Michigan State in the second half. Penn State scored touchdowns on three straight possessions in the middle of the 3rd quarter as they pulled away from Sparty. Evan Royster got things going in the second half as he eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the season. For the game he rushed for 114 yards on just 13 carries for an eye-popping 8.8 yards per carry. Freshman Curtis Drake caught a pass, threw a pass, and ran the ball for an 18 yard gain. 8 different Penn State receivers caught a pass as Clark spread the ball around. Rushed for most of the first half the offensive line came together in the second half and at least held serve and gave Clark enough time to throw and opened up some nice holes for Royster.
If not for the awful prevent defense just before half, the defense would have shut Sparty out for the first half. Once Penn State got its offense rolling, the defense helped by setting the Lions up with good field position as they hauled in 2 picks on back to back possessions. The linebacker combo of Lee, Bowman, and 'The Stache' combined for 24 tackles 4.5 TFL, a pick, and a sack. For the most part, the defense kept things in front of them, and made the big plays when they needed to. Unlike the previous week (and for that matter every other previous away game) the defense came out ready to go from the start and played tough for four quarters.
Whatever personnel adjustments the coaches made in the punt and kick coverage teams it worked, Penn State was at least able to contain MSU's kick return. Jeremy Boone didn't have a great average but he landed all five of his punts inside the 20 with a long of 54. The kick return team got a boost from Stephfon Green who at least made it respectable. The punt return is nothing more than a fair catch on this team and as long as they don't fumble, I'm content. It wasn't all rosy though; Collin Wagner missed both field goal attempts, although one would have been a career long. Wagner's kicking is a crap shoot anymore.
We'll definitely take a win like that any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Penn State now gets to play the waiting game as the rest of the college football world actually plays for another couple weeks. We know that Ohio State won an outright Big Ten title with their victory over Michigan, but we will have to wait and see if the BCS takes Penn State, Iowa, or neither of the two. Remember, there can only be two BCS teams from any one conference and OSU has the automatic big for the Rose Bowl.