Michigan State & Coach Mark Dantonio Pick Up A Historic Win 42-17 over Washington State & Mike Leach!
San Diego, CA
After a 3-win season just a season ago, #16 Michigan State went for its 10th win of the 2017 campaign and its fourth season with 10 or more wins in five years as the Spartans took on a shorthanded Washington State team in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday night in San Diego.
The Spartans turned in a dominant performance against the Cougars, who were playing without the PAC-12 all-time leading passer, Luke Falk, who was a late scratch as Michigan State cruised to a convincing 42-17 win.
The win for the Spartans marks the 100th win for head coach Mark Dantonio since arriving at Michigan State and the sixth time the Spartans have won 10 or more games in the Dantonio era. The win also marks the eighth time in program history that Michigan State has recorded double-digit victories.
Holding a 21-3 lead coming out of halftime, the Spartans picked up right where they left off as Michigan State (10-3) marched 67 yards in 10 plays to extend the lead to 28-3 as sophomore quarterback found true freshman receiver Cody White for a second touchdown of the game – the third touchdown toss of the day for Lewerke – with 10:28 left to play in the third quarter.
On the ensuing Washington State (9-4) drive, Michigan State senior linebacker Chris Frey recovered a fumble by Cougars’ quarterback Tyler Hilinski to give the offense the ball back inside the Washington State 30-yard line.
The Spartan offense continued to roll, capitalizing on the good field position as Michigan State would find the end zone once again as senior quarterback Damion Terry scored on a 6-yard keeper to push the lead to 35-3 with 5:08 left in the third quarter. Terry entered the game in place of Lewerke, who left due to injury after running for a first down earlier in the drive but returned on the next Michigan State possession.
Washington State would find the end zone for the first time late in the third quarter as Hilinski connected with Davontavean Martin for a 14-yard touchdown to cut the Michigan State lead to 35-10 heading into the fourth.
The Cougars would continue to chip away at the Michigan State lead as Hilinski and Martin hooked up again for a 15-yard score with 8:26 left to play to cut the deficit to 18, 35-17.
Hilinski, playing in place of Falk, who did not play due to a wrist injury, finished the game completing 39 of his 50 pass attempts for 272 yards. The Cougars were also playing without their top two receivers, Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson-Mack, who left the program.
But on the very next Michigan State drive, the Spartans would put the game out of reach as L.J. Scott carried the ball on all four plays of the drive for 46 yards and would find the end zone on a 28-yard scamper with 6:14 left to play to make it 42-17.
Scott, who announced after the game that he will be returning to East Lansing for his senior year (Confirming a report from Spartan Nation earlier in the day), despite speculation that he may enter the NFL draft, finished the game with 110 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns to help pace the Spartans’ offense. Lewerke threw for 213 yards on 13-of-21 passing and also rushed for 73 yards on 14 carries.
After Washington State opened up the scoring with a first-quarter field goal, the Spartans erupted for a 21-point second quarter to take a 21-3 lead into halftime.
Michigan State first got on the board with 7:34 left in the second quarter when Lewerke found freshman White for a 15-yard score, capping off a 16-play, 81-yard drive that lasted over nine minutes to take a 7-3 lead. Earlier on the drive, White broke the Michigan State freshman receiving yards season record previously held by Donnie Corley on a 16-yard grab.
On the Spartans’ next drive, Lewerke found a wide-open Felton Davis for a 49-yard touchdown as Davis got behind the Washington State secondary with the help of a run fake to extend the Michigan State lead to 14-3 with 4:34 left before halftime.
Davis finished the game with four receptions for 118 yards and a score, while White recorded three catches for 41 yards and two touchdowns.
After the Michigan State defense forced a third straight 3-and-out, the Spartans extended their lead just seconds before halftime as Scott found his way into the end zone on a 3-yard run to give Michigan State a 21-3 lead going into the half.
The win for Michigan State is the Spartans’ fifth win in its last six bowl game appearances and its fourth season with 10 or more wins in the last five seasons. It is the sixth time Dantonio has led a Spartan team to 10 more wins, the eight time in Spartan Football history and Mark Dantonio’s 100th career win as the head coach of Michigan State.
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