Penn State falls to No. 12 Michigan State in season finale 30-27, lost five of last seven games

Nittany Nation

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 27: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Michigan State Spartans during the second quarter at Spartan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Penn State fell in its regular season finale to No. 12 Michigan State, 30-27. The Nittany Lions have lost five or its last seven games to end the season, after jumping out to a 5-0 record.

The loss comes just four days after Penn State signed head coach James Franklin to a new 10-year contract worth $75 million.

The run game continued to struggle for Penn State putting up 87 yards, excluding Sean Clifford’s eight carries that resulted in -25 yards. No PSU running back had a game with over 100 yards rushing the entire season.

Clifford threw three touchdown passes, two to WR Jahan Dotson, for the Nittany Lions. His 23-for 34 passing for 313 yards was a shining moment for the offense playing in white-out snow at times.

Dotson clearly the star in the regular season finale, and perhaps his last game in a Penn State uniform. The senior WR had 137 yards on eight receptions and two touchdowns.

Dotson’s performance pushed him into third in school history for single-season receiving yards, passing Bobby Engram (1,084 in 1995). His 12 touchdowns this season are good for second in school history, passing Engram, Allen Robinson (2012) and Chris Godwin (2016) who all had 11 touchdowns.

For the first time this season, the Penn State defense struggled in the first quarter. In the previous 11 games, the Nittany Lions did not allow a single touchdown. Michigan State had two scores within the first nine minutes.

Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. Kennett Walker III rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.

Michigan State finished undefeated at home for the first time since 2015.

The Nittany Lions finished the 2021 regular season with a 7-5 record having lost five of its last seven games. Penn State awaits its bowl game selection, which will happen after the College Football Playoff selection show on Sunday, December 5.

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