When: 4 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Beaver Stadium (106,572).
TV: FS1 (Noah Eagle play-by-play, Mark Helfrich color).
2022 records: Penn State 9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, Michigan State 5-6, 3-6 Big Ten.
2021 records: Penn State 7-6, Michigan State 11-2.
Last week: Penn State beat Rutgers 55-10. Michigan State lost to Indiana 39-31 in double overtime.
Series and last meeting: Michigan State leads 18-17-1 and won the last meeting, 30-27, Nov. 27, 2021 in East Lansing.
Coach: Mel Tucker, fourth season overall (23-20), third season at Michigan State (18-13).
Michigan State’s best player: WR/return specialist Jayden Reed. Also, there are exceptional punters throughout the Big Ten, but MSU senior Bryce Baringer leads the country with a 48.4 average.
Injury/roster update: Parker Washington, Penn State’s leading receiver by receptions and yardage, is out for the year with an undisclosed injury, James Franklin announced Tuesday. Franklin said he’s hopeful OT Olu Fashanu (undisclosed injury) and CB Joey Porter, Jr. (appendicitis) will be available.
Michigan State’s situation is more complicated. Eight Spartans were suspended for beating a Michigan player in the Michigan Stadium tunnel at halftime of their game Oct. 29. Seven of them, it was announced this week, have been charged with crimes over the incident.
RB Jarek Broussard, the team’s second-leading rusher, left the Indiana game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable.
Las Vegas says: Penn State is a 18.5-point favorite.
Outlook/notes: For most of this season, we’ve been operating under the assumption that one of these weeks, Penn State will struggle against an opponent it’s “supposed,’’ to beat.
This is the last chance, and it’s easy to imagine Michigan State coming in with some “don’t give a crap,’’ swagger, but the truth is Sparty is a mess. Tucker admitted this week they’ve been practicing without pads for a month. He simply doesn’t have enough bodies, mostly due to the suspensions.
Tucker himself has been taking heat over his gargantuan contract (10 years, $95 million), granted last season based on a tiny career sample size. His team went to elaborate lengths to throw one away against lowly Indiana last week.
The Spartans are playing for bowl eligibility, but you have to wonder if a trip to Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl would be seen as a reward or a punishment. There is, of course, the Christmas morning-like thrill of possessing the Land Grant Trophy, ….
The Spartans don’t do anything particularly well. They are 90th in the country in yards gained, 103rd in yards allowed. Their best win by far, 23-15 at Illinois three weeks ago, was like a magic trick; Illinois had more rushing yards, more passing yards, 150 more total yards and did not commit a turnover.
We have a clear enough idea what both these teams are.
Prediction: Penn State 38, Michigan State 17.