The 108,000 Penn State fans that stuffed Beaver Stadium left with memories that will last for years.
There was Bill Belton’s 3-yard dive on fourth-and-1 that kept alive the winning drive in the fourth overtime. And his 2-yard scamper that helped the Nittany Lions upset then-No. 18 Michigan, 43-40.
Or how about Christian Hackenberg’s 29-yard completion to Brandon Felder on the tying drive in regulation?
But no play stood out like Hackenberg’s toss to a leaping Allen Robinson in the corner that sent the wide receiver crashing down a yard from the goal line. Hackenberg sneaked in for the first rushing TD against Michigan this season, tying the game at 34-all.
With Penn State off this Saturday before heading to Ohio State, there’s even more time to relive the plays the Nittany Lions can only hope will spark them toward a winning streak.
Michigan State finds reliable
RB in Langford
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio got exactly what he wanted from Jeremy Langford last weekend against Indiana.
Now he wants to see him do it again.
The combination of Langford and freshman Delton Williams accounted for 201 yards on 35 carries during Michigan State’s 42-28 victory over the Hoosiers on Saturday. A similar effort this week against visiting Purdue could put the Spartans (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) in first in the Legends Division all by themselves.
Langford’s 109 yards on 23 attempts to go along with three rushing touchdowns and a TD reception made him the Big Ten’s offensive player of the week. But it was the fourth touchdown, a 32-yard sweep, that excited the crowd and showed off his breakaway speed.
“Jeremy Langford needs to line up every snap with the mindset that he can go the distance,” Dantonio said Tuesday. “He had that last week and ran extremely hard.”
He had plenty of help from Williams, whose power provided an effective change of pace. He had 92 yards on 12 carries in just his second collegiate appearance after moving ahead of fellow newcomer Gerald Holmes.
“So much of playing running back is about catching the ball and pass protection,” Dantonio said. “We felt Delton was a little ahead of Gerald in those areas. And we needed a guy to offset what we get from Langford and Nick Hill.”
Hill didn’t carry the ball last week despite a season average of 5.2 yards per carry. Until last week, his 35-yard run against Youngstown State was the team’s only explosive running play.
That changed with Langford’s TD dash and Williams’ 37-yard run against Indiana, plays that showed what an improving offensive line can help produce. Those gains, especially Williams’ sprint, looked a lot like the kinds of plays Michigan State got from Le’Veon Bell, a first-team All-Big Ten pick who is starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his rookie season in the NFL.
“We got over 200 yards on the ground, and that helped us stay balanced,” Dantonio said. “When the backs and the offensive line can do that, we’re able to take some of the pressure off the passing game.”
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