Late Plunge Propels Spartans Past Nittany Lions, 35-31
Nov. 17, 2007
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Jehuu Caulcrick's 1-yard touchdown plunge with just more than 4 minutes remaining capped a crazy comeback for Michigan State, which likely sealed a bowl bid with a 35-31 victory over Penn State in Saturday's regular season finale.
Caulcrick also ran for a first down on a fake punt in Michigan State territory on the same drive to boost the Spartans (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten).
Penn State (8-4, 4-4) -- which lost a 17-point second-half lead -- also will be bowl bound for the 34th time under coach Joe Paterno.
Caulcrick had 99 yards on 22 carries. Thomas caught seven passes for 139 yards.
Rodney Kinlaw rushed for 125 yards and two scores on 28 carries for Penn State. Quarterback Anthony Morelli completed 16 of 35 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.
Penn State went ahead 24-7 early in the third quarter on a fake field goal, with kicker Kevin Kelly scrambling untouched into the endzone for a 5-yard TD run.
Michigan State cut the lead to 24-21 on a pair of Hoyer touchdown passes -- 3 yards to fullback Jeff McPherson, and 33 yards to Thomas.
But Penn State responded early in the fourth quarter with Kinlaw's 4-yard touchdown run. That made it 31-21.
Hoyer connected with Thomas for a 26-yard TD strike to cut the lead to 31-28 with 11 minutes remaining.
Caulcrick's run gave Michigan State the lead for good.
Penn State had a chance to take the lead with about 1:30 remaining, but Morelli's desperation fourth down pass sailed over receiver Deon Butler's head in the end zone.
The 80-year-old Paterno has 371 career wins -- two behind Florida State's Bobby Bowden for most victories among major college coaches.
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