MSU Runs Over Nittany Lions


It took Penn State three weeks to go from No. 2 in the country to No. 4 in the Big Ten.

The 13th-ranked Nittany Lions lost their third straight game Saturday, falling to No. 15 Michigan State 35-28 after overcoming a 21-point halftime deficit.

It marked the first time Penn State (9-3, 5-3) has lost three straight since 1988, and the first time since 1914 that it has lost its final three regular-season games.

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Game summary

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  • T.J. Duckett ran for four touchdowns for the Spartans (9-2, 6-2).

    Duckett, who was recruited as a linebacker but used increasingly as a clutch-situation ball carrier, carried 22 times for 159 yards, including the winning touchdown on an 11-yard run up the middle with 2:30 left.

    "I think that was probably as fine an effort as we had all year, in terms of dogged determination to score a touchdown," Michigan State coach Nick Saban said.

    Penn State trailed 28-7 at the half, but dominated the third quarter, scoring 10 points to draw within 28-17.

    Eddie Drummond caught a 23-yard scoring pass from Kevin Thompson to cap a 16-play, 86-yard scoring drive. Travis Forney then kicked a 21-yard field goal.

    The Nittany Lions tied the score in the fourth quarter as Drummond caught a 12-yard TD pass, and Forney kicked a 30-yard field goal. The field goal was set up by a 45-yard pass play from Thompson to tight end Tony Stewart.

    Michigan State safety Richard Newsome set up Duckett's winning touchdown, recovering a fumble by John Gilmore on the Penn State 39-yard line. Duckett scored eight plays later.

    "It was a great game," Duckett said. "We played great as a team; we played a full 60 minutes and that's what we wanted to do."

    T.J. Turner made his second interception of the game to stop Penn State's next drive. But Paul Edinger missed a 38-yard field goal with 37 seconds left that would have put the game away.

    But the Nittany Lions couldn't score as the Spartans held on.

    "When you play a good fooball team, you've got to play with heart, but you've got to play with poise," said Penn State coach Joe Paterno. "We had the opportunity to win at the end, but we made a couple of mistakes."

    "You've got to give Michigan State some credit; they had to come back," Paterno said. "They came back and made some plays. That's a good football team; they bang away and that's how it's supposed to be."

    Michigan State jumped to a quick lead, thanks to a flashy 51-yard kickoff return by Herb Haygood on the game's opening play. After two pass completions, Duckett charged up the middle for 20 yards and a touchdown.

    Later in the quarter, flanker Gari Scott grabbed a Penn State punt and sprinted up the middle for a 64-yard touchdown.

    As the quarter ended, Penn State flanker Chafie Fields fumbled after catching a pass, and Michigan State's Josh Thornhill recovered at the Penn State 9. Then Duckett ran 9 yards for another touchdown.

    Penn State finally got on the board when Larry Johnson plunged 1 yard for a touchdown.

    Duckett responded with a 55-yard dash to the Penn State 2-yard-line, setting up his own touchdown plunge a play later.

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