Penn State defeats Michigan State to become Big Ten East Champions
(CNN– Bleacher Report) After a raucous rivalry game between Ohio State and Michigan ended up with the Buckeyes winning in double overtime, one of the loudest roars of the season was heard in Happy Valley.
That’s because the Ohio State win opened things up for Penn State to represent the East Division at next week’s Big Ten Football Championship Game.
After the Buckeyes secured their win on Curtis Samuel’s 15-yard TD run in the second extra session, the Nittany Lions did their part as they dominated Michigan State in the second half and secured a 45-12 victory.
Penn State (10-2, 8-1 in the Big Ten) had put itself in a position to represent the East as a result of its upset victory over Ohio State last month.
The Nittany Lions will square off with West Division representative Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2). The Badgers secured their place in the title game when Iowa defeated Nebraska 40-10 on Friday. Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 31-17 in its season finale at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin Saturday.
The Big Ten title game will be played Saturday, December 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game will kickoff at 8:17 p.m. ET, and it will be televised by Fox.
The Nittany Lions are on a major role, as they have reeled off eight straight victories since starting the season with two losses in their first four games. They dropped a 49-10 decision at Michigan in late September, and they have not lost a game since.
Many of Penn State’s seniors were true freshmen as the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal was making national headlines in 2011.
“These are the guys that stuck with this program and helped lead the program through probably one of the darkest times that it’s ever seen and one of the darkest times that a program’s ever seen in college football history,” sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley told the Associated Press earlier this week (h/t CSNPhilly).
“These seniors were completely instrumental in keeping this program alive and getting the program through everything.”
The Badgers lost back-to-back games to Michigan and Ohio State by seven points each, but have won six games in a row to close the regular season.
They may not be at their best offensively in the Big Ten title game if quarterback Alex Hornibrook is unable to play. Hornibrook was forced out of the Minnesota game with an apparent rib-chest injury after absorbing a hard hit.
Hornibrook was replaced by senior Bart Houston, and those two have been splitting time under center.