STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Tailback Larry Johnson makes his final home appearance Saturday when 16th-ranked Penn State closes its regular season against Michigan State in a Big Ten Conference contest.
Johnson is coming off yet another spectacular performance, rushing for a school-record 307 yards and four touchdowns in last week's 58-25 victory over Indiana. It marked the third time the native of State College broke Penn State's single-game rushing mark this season.
He originally set the record with 257 yards against Northwestern on October 19 and bettered it two weeks later with 279 yards against Illinois.
Johnson joined John Cappelletti (1973) as the only Penn State running backs with three 200-yard games in the same season. Last week marked was the fifth-highest single-game total in Big Ten history.
In the process, he set a single-season Penn State rushing record, surpassing Lydell Mitchell's previous mark of 1,567 yards in 1971.
Johnson, the nation's leader in all-purpose yards, is second in in rushing, averaging 157.8 yards per game. He has run for 1,736 yards.
"I think he's in a class with all the great running backs we've had," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. "I think he's made some runs those guys couldn't make because of his speed. Any praise he gets he deserves."
The Nittany Lions (8-3, 4-3) are looking to close the year with a season-high four-game winning streak and improve their bowl standing.
There will be no bowl appearance for Michigan State (4-7, 2-5), which concludes a turbulent year in which coach Bobby Williams was fired and starting quarterback Jeff Smoker was suspended and entered a substance abuse program.
Regarded as a Big Ten contender at the start of the year, the Spartans have dropped five of their last six games. Michigan State snapped a four-game losing streak with a 56-21 victory over Indiana on November 9 but suffered a 45-42 setback to Purdue last week.
Michigan State is 1-1 under interim coach Morris Watts, who was promoted from offensive coordinator following a 49-3 drubbing to Michigan on November 2.
Last season, Penn State rallied from a 17-point deficit to post a 42-37 victory over Michigan State. The win cut the Spartans' lead in the all-time series to 10-8-1.