Michigan State Introduces Gruff Sparty Helmets But Still Loses to Penn State

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State College, PA — December 12, 2020

The Michigan State Spartans traveled to Happy Valley hoping to end their regular season on a high note and for half of the game, things were looking pretty cheerful. After quarterback Rocky Lombardi was injured last week in the Ohio State game, backup Payton Thorne replaced him and did a decent job. During the first half at Beaver Stadium, he looked like the more famous quarterback named Payton.

Thorne’s stats for the day, 22 of 39 for 325-yards, and 3 touchdowns led the Spartans to a 21-10 halftime lead. Maybe it was the debut of the Gruff Sparty helmet that inspired Michigan State to dominate the first 30 minutes of football against the Nittany Lions.

Gruff Sparty, Photo Courtesy of Michigan State Football

While the alternative logo has been seen around campus for several years, this is the first time it has appeared on the football team’s green helmets.

Second Half Collapse

Unfortunately for Spraty, Michigan State could not sustain the momentum into the 2nd half. Penn State came out of the locker room and dominated the last two quarters outscoring the Spartans 29-3. The final score of 39-24 was the Nittany Lions’ first home victory of the season. Ironically, the only time Penn State has gone winless at home was during the 1918 season when the country was ravaged by the Spanish Flu pandemic.

The Big Ten Conference scheduled Champion’s Week for December 19. In addition to the conference championship game between Northwestern and Ohio State, each member of the East Division was to match up against a West Division team with a similar won-loss record.

With the rise of positive COVID tests in Big Ten football programs, the status of those games is in flux. The Conference is supposed to announce the schedule on Sunday.

Other Big Ten Scores

  • Northwestern 28, Illinois 10
  • Rutgers 27, Maryland 24 (OT)
  • Minnesota 24, Nebraska 17
  • Iowa 28, Wisconsin 7
  • Michigan vs Ohio State, Canceled
  • Purdue at Indiana, Canceled