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No. 24 Michigan State waits out weather delay to upset No. 7 Penn State

It took seven long hours but the Big Ten East altered course significantly on Saturday afternoon.

In fact, it went from Happy Valley to Columbus to East Lansing on a chaos-filled weekend that was finished off by a game-winning Matt Coghlin field goal to give No. 24 Michigan State an improbable 27-24 win over a rain-soaked crowd at Spartan Stadium.

Mark Dantonio’s team navigated a nearly three-and-a-half hour weather delay in the first half to rally in the second, pitching a fourth quarter shutout and doing just enough on offense to eek out a shocking win that puts them in the division’s driving seat. Quarterback Brian Lewerke had a career day, throwing for 400 yards on 56 (!!) attempts with two touchdowns and an interception. The normally conservative Spartans went full Air Raid in a game where conditions called for anything but, rushing for only 74 yards but improbably throwing for 12.1 per completion.

Key to the win was also a mistake by the Nittany Lions, who committed a roughing the passer penalty that helped extend the game-winning drive 15 yards. Coghlin eventually booted through the 34-yarder right down the uprights for the victory.

The effort was also a vintage performance by Dantonio’s defense. While MSU gave up 466 yards to the high-powered Penn State offense, they recorded three turnovers and three sacks while also keeping the Nittany Lions out of the end zone. Most impressively, they bottled up Heisman front-runner Saquon Barkley to just 63 yards rushing on 14 carries. That put a lot of pressure on QB Trace McSorley, who managed to throw for 381 yards and three touchdowns but also tossed a trio of bad interceptions.

The end result of all that chaos, including No. 6 Ohio State’s terrible loss on the road at Iowa a few minutes prior, means Sparty is suddenly in control of their Big Ten destiny. They can all but secure the division title with a win next week in Columbus and might be in line to make a New Year’s Six bowl if they keep winning at the very least. Given where the program was last year and over the offseason, Saturday’s result at home to upset a top 10 team was quite the sign of progress in East Lansing.