Michigan State football finishes their tumultuous season with a blowout loss to Penn State

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Emily Lance

DETROIT, Mich. – On Sept. 1, Michigan State football’s season began, with hopes of getting back on track and making a bowl game with a brand-new quarterback. 

Two weeks into their campaign, things took a turn for the worst for Michigan State, and they would never fully recover. 

Now the season has come to a close in despicable fashion, as MSU finished their season losing to Penn State University at Ford Field, 42-0. 

“I was hoping to compete and finish better than we did,” acting head coach Harlon Barnett said. “I still love these guys and will always love them.” 

Early on, Michigan State looked like they were going to be able to move the ball efficiently down the field and put on defensive pressure, as the game opened with graduate linebacker Aaron Brule wrestling down Penn State sophomore quarterback on third down to force a field goal. 

The ensuing Michigan State drive saw redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser drive the ball into Nittany Lion territory, including a sleek roll-out of the pocket, 30-yard completion to senior wide-receiver Montorie Foster Jr. Houser would then throw an ugly interception, and Michigan State never really found their footing again. 

The Spartans’ inability to move the ball down the field was the story of the game. 47 offensive plays resulting in a mere 53 total yards of offense resulted in the least number of yards ever put up in Michigan State football history. 

A large factor in MSU’s minute number of yards was their -35 rushing yards in the game. Michigan State running backs were struggling to find holes to run through, and the Penn State defensive front seven was consistently getting to the quarterback. 

Penn State never took their foot off the gas, rushing the quarterback and moving the ball down the field until the final whistle. 

“[Penn State] were still coming after us late in the game, and I personally have no problem with that,” Barnett said. “They’re just playing football, trying to get better. What are we going to do to counter it?”

All in all, the game would finish with MSU not entering the red zone a single time, only racking up five first downs, and getting shut out for the second time this season. 

Questions loom large for this football team moving forward, mainly with the ongoing head coaching search. While reports have surfaced of a few head coaches in college football taking steps in the interview process, Barnett believes this is his job to lose. When asked what he will tell the next head coach about Michigan State, he had quite a clever answer. 

“Well, I’ll be looking in the mirror,” Barnett said, with a grin and a wink. “And I will say, Michigan State is a great place, you’ve known that since 1985. You’ve gotta love the student-athlete, above everything. They’ll play hard for you, they’ll do whatever they ask you to do.”

Michigan State finishes its season with a record of 4-8 and moves onto the offseason looking for a new coach and looking to rebuild the culture and team that Michigan State once was.

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