Michigan State in prime position in Big Ten East after upset win over Penn State

Penn State let a huge chance slip away Saturday in East Lansing, and now Michigan State is in a great position to win the Big Ten East.

As a result, coupled with Ohio State’s loss at Iowa, the Big Ten is in major trouble in the College Football Playoff picture.

Just after 7 p.m., more than seven hours after the game began, Michigan State kicker Matt Coghlin hit a game-winning 34-yard field goal to give the No. 24 Spartans an upset 27-24 victory over No. 7 Penn State.

The win means Michigan State, now 7-2 and 5-1 in Big Ten play, controls its own destiny in the Big Ten East with a trip to Ohio State on the horizon. Penn State’s College Football Playoff hopes, whatever was left of them, can be thrown out the window.

Penn State had a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter, but that’s when the rain — and the lightning — came. The weather caused a delay that spanned more than three hours. And when the teams finally returned to the field, Michigan State seemed to take control.

Michigan State running back LJ Scott (3) dives over Penn State’s Marcus Allen (2) for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

The Spartans tied the game up at 14 before halftime and took a 21-14 lead midway through the third after an LJ Scott TD run. But Penn State, coming off a heartbreaking one-point loss at Ohio State last week, responded with 10 points in a span of just over two minutes.

First, PSU cut the deficit to 21-17 on a 26-yard Tyler Davis field goal. After forcing an MSU punt, Trace McSorley found DeAndre Thompkins behind the defense for a 70-yard score, putting PSU back in front, 24-21.

After the touchdown, MSU punched back and tied the game at 24-24.

The offenses were moving with ease suddenly, but the teams traded interceptions on the next two possessions. For Penn State, it was Amani Oruwariye who hauled in a wacky interception with MSU knocking on the doorstep.

PSU took over at its own seven and marched into MSU territory. After eight plays, the Nittany Lions were faced with a decision. It was fourth-and-3 from the MSU 31, and PSU decided to go for it instead of kicking a long field goal in the sloppy conditions.

McSorley had Thompkins open on a slant, but the ball went through the wideout’s hands and put possession back in favor of the Spartans.

The drop would prove to be costly, but probably not as costly as a penalty on Marcus Allen, PSU’s star senior safety.

Michigan State moved the ball to the Penn State 37, but Brian Lewerke, who finished with 400 yards passing, threw an incomplete pass on third down. However, Michigan State was awarded an automatic first down because of an ill-advised roughing the passer penalty on Allen, who hit Lewerke low and late.

(via FOX)

From there, the Spartans took time off the clock and inched closer toward a comfortable spot for Coghlin. With four seconds left on the clock, the redshirt freshman, who missed two field goals in MSU’s triple-overtime loss to Northwestern last weekend, drilled the field goal right down the middle to give MSU an enormous victory.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!