Penn State No. 11 looks to finish strong against Spartans
Michigan State (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) at No. 11 Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 11 CFP), Saturday, 4 p.m. EST (FS1)
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: Penn State by 18½.
Series record: Michigan State leads 18-17-1.
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
The Nittany Lions have looked like a team that belongs in a New Year Six bowling game for the past few weeks. They still have a chance to get one and earn coach James Franklin his fourth 10-win season in Happy Valley. The Spartans need this one to become bowl eligible.
Michigan State’s peak defense against Penn State’s running game. The Nittany Lions have gotten by with their last three opponents on the ground. They’ve averaged 222 rushing yards per game since Oct. 29 and have scored nine touchdowns.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michigan State: LB Cal Haladay. He averages 9.9 tackles per game, tied for most in the Big Ten. Haladay had 19 tackles in the Big Ten in a win over Rutgers earlier this month, and could need a similar performance to help the Spartans pull off the upset.
Penn State: RB Kaytron Allen. Pick one of Penn State’s true, talented first-year backs. While Nick Singleton is the biggest threat, Allen has been a bulldozer. He’s tough to attack and is the player the Nittany Lions call on to wear down defenses early.
FACTS AND FIGURES
The Spartans have won six of the last nine games in the series, including three of their last five at Penn State. … Michigan State WR Keon Coleman ranks among the Big Ten leaders with seven TD receptions, 64.3 yards per game and 50 catches. He had his third 100-yard game of the season against Indiana. … Spartans QB Payton Thorne threw 18 TDs and 10 INTs, a year after throwing 27 TDs and 10 INTs. … Michigan State’s Bryce Baringer is one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, which recognizes college football’s best bettor. … Penn State RBs Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton are the first Big Ten freshman duo to rush for more than 700 yards apiece in a season. … Franklin won his 100th game as head coach last week. … Twenty-six Nittany Lions have recorded at least one tackle for loss this season, most of them in the FBS. … Penn State scored three non-offensive touchdowns last week.
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