Dec 12, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Antonio Shelton (55) reacts following a sack on Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) during the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Penn State QB duo leads way past Michigan State

Quarterbacks Sean Clifford and Will Levis combined for 370 total yards and four touchdowns as Penn State rallied from a double-digit deficit to post a 39-24 home victory over Michigan State on Saturday.

Jahan Dotson had big day as well with 108 yards receiving and a punt return for a touchdown for the Nittany Lions, who retained the Land Grant Trophy following Clifford’s four TD throws last season.

Penn State (3-5) won its third straight game after a school-worst five-game losing streak to start the season and avoided going winless at home for the first time since 1918 — during the Spanish Flu.

Payton Thorne threw three touchdowns in his first career start and led Michigan State (2-5) to a 21-10 halftime lead. He completed 11 of 13 passes in the first half for 202 yards but just 123 after the break, finishing 22 of 39 with an interception.

Penn State coach James Franklin gave both of his QBs a generous number of snaps. Clifford threw for 232 yards and two scores while running for a third touchdown, while Levis rushed for the go-ahead score, passed for 54 yards and ran for 36 yards on a team-high 15 carries.

Trailing 21-10, Clifford went 6 of 8 for 67 yards on the opening drive of the third quarter. He found Parker Washington for a 7-yard TD and Dotson for the two-point conversion.

After a 23-yard field goal by the Spartans’ Matt Coughlin, the Penn State quarterback duo took turns completing passes down the field before Levis carried twice for seven yards and the go-ahead score from 1 yard out that made it 25-24 Penn State.

On the Nittany Lions’ next possession Clifford found a wide-open Washington down the right sideline for a 49-yard touchdown and 32-24 lead.

Dotson returned a punt 81 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown and a 39-24 lead with 11:24 left.

The defense, which allowed three touchdowns on three second-quarter possessions, limited the Spartans to one field goal after the break.

In that second quarter, Thorne sandwiched scoring passes of 45 and 7 yards to Jalen Nailer between a 26-yard touchdown pass to Tre’von Morgan, whose wrestled the ball away from two defenders for his first career catch.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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