Michigan State Spartans win second straight, 27-21 over Rutgers
Michigan State redshirt junior quarterback Payton Thorne threw two touchdown passes
EAST LANSING, Mich. (MSU Athletics) - Michigan State redshirt junior quarterback Payton Thorne threw two touchdown passes and kicker Ben Patton added two fourth quarter field goals as the Spartans beat Rutgers, 27-21, on Saturday afternoon in front of 63,267 at Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State improves to 5-5 overall (3-4 Big Ten), while the Scarlet Knights fall to 4-6 (1-6 Big Ten).
Thorne completed 19-of 35 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns, one to redshirt senior receiver Jayden Reed, who caught 10 passes for 90 yards, and the second to fifth-year tight end Daniel Barker, who had four catches for 64 yards. Redshirt sophomore running back Jalen Berger had 16 carries for 85 yards and one touchdown, while fifth-year running back Jarek Broussard finished with 11 carries for 80 yards.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Cal Haladay led the defense with 19 tackles, including one for loss, while Kendell Brooks had 10, redshirt senior linebacker Ben VanSumeren added eight, including one sack and one tackle-for-loss, and sixth-year cornerback Ronald Williams had seven tackles.
The Spartans dominated the first quarter, outgaining the Scarlet Knights, 178 yards to 44, while taking a 7-0 lead on a 26-yard Barker touchdown catch.
Although Bryce Baringer, the nation’s leading punter, booted a 64-yard punt that was downed at the Rutgers 4-yard line, the Scarlet Knights drove 96 yards on nine plays to tie it at 7 with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
Gavin Wimsatt found Avery Young in the end zone for an 18-yard reception for the Rutgers touchdown. The Spartans responded with a 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Thorne’s 35-yard pass to Reed set up first-and-goal for MSU, and Berger finished the drive with a 2-yard TD run. After forcing a punt on Rutgers’ first possession of the third quarter, MSU marched 86 yards on just five plays to go up 21-7, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Thorne to Reed.
Rutgers made it a one-score game late in the third quarter as Johnny Langan found the end zone on a 1-yard run at the 1:30 mark. In the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights took more than six minutes off the clock to begin the quarter and drove the ball to the MSU 21-yard line, but after a third-down penalty, they were forced to attempt a 39-yard field goal, which was then blocked by Jacob Slade.
The Spartans made it a two-score game once again at 24-14 as Patton connected on a 35-yard field goal with 6:28 left in the game. Rutgers turned the ball over on downs with just under five minutes left following a sack by fifth-year linebacker Aaron Brule and after four plays, Patton booted a 48-yard field goal with 3:22 to play, giving the Spartans a 27-21 lead. Rutgers pulled to within 27-21 on a 31-yard touchdown score with 47 seconds left, but Tre Mosley recovered the onside kick for the Spartans to preserve the victory.
Michigan State returns to action next Saturday, Nov. 19 vs. Indiana in Spartan Stadium.
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