Penn State up to No. 3 in AP poll

McSorley Barkley lead Penn State over Northwestern 31-7

No one really knew what to expect from Michigan State and Mark Dantonio after a disastrous 3-9 season a year ago and a host of offseason controversies and personnel shuffling.

Forget the overreactions about Harbaugh's rating - over, under, proper - that's another distraction.

The Wolverines outgained the Spartans, 300-252. Georgia vs. Vanderbilt (noon on ESPN) earned a 1.3 overnight, up 30% from last year's similar game (Auburn vs. Mississippi State) and Cal vs. Washington earned a 1.1 overnight, flat with last year's same game (Washington State vs. Stanford). That's nothing more than an attention-grabber for angst or a hot seat that just isn't there.

But the Wolverines' offense has been trending in the wrong direction all season.

In the short term, the offense is the issue.

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Maybe the Spartans defense is just that good and it's certainly possible that the weather had an impact on the O'Korn's ability to throw. While the MI defense was forcing MSU to punt seven of their eight 2 half possessions (forcing fumble on the 8), John O'Korn continued to hand it right back over to the Spartans while throwing three interceptions. He got started early against the Wolverines, stripping the ball from running back Ty Isaac in the first quarter. The Spartans were 3-9, including a 32-23 home loss to the Wolverines, then endured a tumultous offseason. In the Purdue game, he played a great game.

You can't fall behind 14-3 when you know the flood is coming in the second half. Chris Evans had as many carries, and ran for just 27 yards. Campbell was excellent for the Nittany Lions, finishing the game with four tackles, two passes defensed, and an interception, as Penn State remained undefeated and improved to 6-0. Speight had struggled throughout the season as he only completed 54.3% of his passes while throwing two interceptions. It might happen against IN next week. The Spartans turned things around last week, grinding out a 17-10 win over Iowa in which they won the turnover battle 2-0.

Against the Wolverines, the Spartans scored on nearly the same type of play. The Spartans held on from there, and it worked. And it means Michigan's Big Ten title drought may extend to 13 seasons. The quarterback also will need some help from the men calling his plays. It didn't work, and the Wolverines punted. For their head-to-head over the past three meetings, Michigan State is 2-1. A holding call set up the frenetic finish, but it would take a miracle for the Wolverines to win.

The 17th-ranked Wolverines (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) will have all week to work on a plan to have their offense help them beat IN (3-2, 0-2) on the road Saturday. Turnovers have gone up and they've gotten away from running the football.

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