NCAA Game Summary - Minnesota at Michigan State|
(Saturday, November 30th)
Final Score: (11) Michigan State 14, Minnesota 3
East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeremy Langford ran for a touchdown and
Connor Cook threw for a score, as 11th-ranked Michigan State completed an
undefeated Big Ten regular season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota at
The Spartans did just enough offensively, scoring on their first possession of
the game and their initial series of the second half, in a tune-up for next
week's Big Ten championship game against Ohio State.
Michigan State (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten) won its final eight games for its third
unbeaten Big Ten regular season and first since accomplishing the feat in 1965
and 1966. The Spartans' lone loss came Sept. 21 in a 17-13 loss at Notre Dame.
Langford finished with 134 yards on 21 carries in the victory, while Cook
completed just 10-of-20 passes for 143 yards.
"Our guys are confident," said Cook. "You can see the confidence in practice
and in the game, even when things aren't really going our way. They know
they're playmakers, their coaches know they're playmakers, and we know they're
playmakers. Confidence is never an issue.
"It's a great feeling (to get the win). First and foremost, I'm so happy for
the seniors. They've worked so hard. They've put in so much work for our
programs. They've made so many sacrifices, so I'm just happy that the work I
put in helped contribute to putting our team on top for the seniors."
Minnesota (8-4, 4-4) completed a successful regular season despite back-to-
back losses after winning four in a row. The Gophers hadn't won as many as
eight games in a season since the 2003 squad finished 10-3.
Philip Nelson threw for just 77 yards with a pair of interceptions on 6-of-18
passing in defeat. David Cobb ran for 101 yards on 27 carries for the Gophers.
The Spartans took their first possession 80 yards for a touchdown. Cook
completed each of his three passes for 48 yards and Langford did the rest with
four carries for 32, the last 15 for the score.
Trae Waynes then picked off Nelson on the next series, but an intentional
grounding penalty against Cook at the Minnesota 38 derailed the drive and
forced a punt. The Spartans again drove into Minnesota territory early in the
second quarter, but Langford was stopped short of a first down on 4th-and-1 at
Minnesota finally put together a sustained march a few minutes later and did
so with the aid of a fake punt. Maxx Williams ran for seven yards on 4th-and-2
at the Michigan State 40 and the Gophers reached the one before a third-down
pass was deflected and fell incomplete, setting up Chris Hawthorne's 21-yard
Waynes came up with his second interception in the final minute of the half
and a 24-yard pass gave Michigan State a chance to tack on some points with a
first down at the Minnesota 31. Cook, though, was picked off by Derrick Wells
to keep it a 7-3 game at the intermission.
The Spartans took the second half kickoff and drove 75 yards on eight plays
for another touchdown. Cook finished it with a 12-yard strike to Josiah Price
for a 14-3 lead.
Minnesota countered with a march to the Michigan State 11, but went backward
from there and Hawthorne missed a 38-yard field goal try.
Michigan State had a chance to extend the lead late in the third after a 35-
yard run by Aaron Burbridge set up a first down at the Minnesota 19, but Cook
was sacked and fumbled two plays later.
The Gophers mounted one last threat early in the fourth, taking more than nine
minutes off the clock with a drive from their own nine to the Michigan State
11, but Shilique Calhoun forced a fumble and Denzel Drone recovered for the
Spartans with less than five minutes remaining.
"We just didn't finish drives, and that happens sometimes," said Minnesota
coach Jerry Kill. "And field position was critical on some of those. But the
effort was certainly there, and we just needed to make a few more plays."
The Spartans went unbeaten at home for the third time in the last four seasons
... Michigan State was 0-for-8 on third down ... Minnesota controlled the ball
for nearly 39 minutes ... Michigan State has now won four straight against
Minnesota and leads the all-time series, 29-17.
11/30 16:48:09 ET