Here is our report card from the game.
OVERALL: With all of the mistakes and penalties, the Nittany Lions seemed to be their own worst enemy. Hardly what we expected on Senior Day. But we keep reminding ourselves this was a one-loss, top-10 opponent.
OFFENSE: The stat sheet offers proof that Penn State could move the ball. MSU had one more first down in the game (21-20). The Lions just could not execute when it mattered.
DEFENSE: The troubling part was that the Spartans kept attacking the same area -- the boundary side -- over and over and over. And Penn State had no answers. And there was nothing remotely fluky about MSU's scores. They came on drives of nine, eight, six and nine plays and three covered 68 yards or more.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Nothing especially bad or good here. This was a day where the Lions could have used a big play from the return game. But it never came — which has been typical of this season.
COACHING: On offense, the Lions didn't use Evan Royster enough (14 carries for 85 yards and a score), tried to get too fancy at a key moment (Devon Smith's third-quarter end-around) and blew a very basic call on when to go (or not go) for two following a score. On defense, Penn State could not get off the field, allowing five drives of eight plays or more.
INTANGIBLES: So much for Michigan State never beating Joe Paterno at Beaver Stadium.
OTHER GUY: The Spartans eased up after building a 28-10 lead and safety Trenton Robinson made an incredibly bone-headed move after what should have been the game-clinching interception. Other than that, nice work by Sparty.
OFFICIALS: Some very questionable stuff in this one left the PSU sideline and even the TV announcers scratching their heads.
CROWD: Kudos to those hearty souls who braved the frigid, windy conditions. They are all that prevent a failing grade here.