Michigan State keeps postseason hopes alive, beats Rutgers

Michigan State wide receiver Cody White (7) catches a touchdown pass in front of Rutgers defensive back Tim Barrow during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Cody White had career-highs with 11 receptions and three touchdowns and Michigan State kept its postseason bowl hopes alive by snapping a five-game losing streak with a 27-0 win over Rutgers on Saturday.

White, who entered with two touchdown catches this season, caught scoring passes of 21, 16 and 7 yards from Brian Lewerke as the Spartans (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) sent the Scarlet Knights (2-9, 0-8) to their 20th straight conference loss.

Lewerke was 21 of 30 for 239 yards, Elijah Collins rushed for 109 yards and Matt Coghlin hit field goals of 46 and 36 yards as Michigan State posted its first shutout since beating Rutgers 49-0 in 2016.

Rutgers thought it had scored midway through the fourth quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Justin Davidovicz. But a holding penalty took the points off the board and forced a punt.

Michigan State can qualify for its 12th bowl game in coach Mark Dantonio’s 13 seasons with a win at home over Maryland next weekend.

White has been a pain for Rutgers. He scored the game-winning touchdown on an end around late in the fourth quarter in a 14-10 win last season. The junior’s 11 catches tied for the eighth most in a single game for the Spartans and his 136 yards receiving was a season high for him.

Michigan State outgained Rutgers 395-140 in total yards and held the Scarlet Knights without a first down in the first half in taking a 17-0 lead. Rutgers finished with seven first downs.

Lewerke and White were the show on offense in the opening half, combining nine times for 117 yards, including touchdown passes of 21 yards in the first quarter and 16 with 32 seconds left in the half.

The margin could have been a lot worse. The Spartans were stopped on fourth and 1 inside the Rutgers 33 twice and Coghlin hit the left goalpost on a 33-yard field goal attempt after safety Xavier Henderson returned an interception to the Rutgers 15.

Rutgers longest play in the half was a 7-yard yard pass to Aaron Young. The Scarlet Knights got their initial first down on a 13-yard run by quarterback Johnny Langan on the second play of the second half.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan State: The Spartan kept their postseason hopes alive.

Rutgers: This was their last real chance to win a game. No chance in Happy Valley next week.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Host Maryland on Saturday.

Rutgers: Finish season at No. 8 Penn State.

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