With their win, the Spartans claim the title of Big Ten East Champions. Ohio State had previously been rooting for Penn State in this game; if Penn State had cinched a victory, Ohio State would have notched the title of champions.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) was a hero on the turf, scoring Penn State’s only two touchdowns of the day. Godwin fought hard all game, and his speed and ball-handling skills made him one of Penn State’s biggest threats against Michigan State.
“Our coach put us in a good position to be successful and unfortunately we just didn’t execute well enough to come out with a victory,” commented Godwin in regards to the team as a whole.
The Lions’ inability to pressure Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook (Hinckley, Ohio) showed. Cook was able to sink most of his passes, at times placing them so perfectly that Michigan State was able to walk the ball into the end zone.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) had a difficult day, throwing two interceptions and notching just over 250 yards. However, it was the offensive line that was unable to prevent Michigan State from sacking Hackenberg time and time again this past Saturday.
“You can’t make that many mistakes
The game was not a loss in all aspects.
Superstar freshman Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) finished the regular season with pride. He now holds the all-time record for rushing yards by a Penn State freshman with 1,007 rushing yards. Barkley was also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Carl Nassib (West Chester, Pa.), despite being injured for the last two games, also earned honors as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year. Both he and Austin Johnson (Galloway, N.J.) have been named to the All-Big Ten team.
Head Coach James Franklin had some words of wisdom during his post-game press conference.
“We are going to keep working, we are going to keep developing our players, we are going to keep killing it academically, and we are going to keep killing it in the community. We are going to get healthy and have a chance to get our whole roster back and go on with the future…I feel very confident with that,” said Franklin.
On Sunday, Franklin made the announcement that he was making a staff change. Offensive Coordinator John Donovan was fired, effectively immediately beginning on Sunday, November 29.
“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in over the last five years,” noted Franklin. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
Donovan has worked with Franklin for five years, beginning at Vanderbilt.
Franklin will begin actively searching for a replacement immediately.
Good things are to come in Penn State’s future. Although this weekend was tough mentally and physically for the team and for the fans, there is still a bowl yet to come. Without a doubt, your Nittany Lions will give you a bowl game you are sure to not want to miss.