Spartans Have Strong First Half

Spartans have strong first half in Big Ten opener against Wisconsin.

With Spartans coach Mark Dantonio watching from the hospital, Michigan State went about their business in their Big Ten opener with Wisconsin.

The Spartans started off strong as they slowed down the Badgers offense on their first drive while watching quarterback Kirk Cousins find an open receiver on 3rd and long to put the Spartans in field goal range.

Dan Conroy would hit from 36-yards out and give the Spartans the early lead.

The Spartans would also hold strong on the Badgers second drive and looked to have found a groove offensively until Cousins would look to hit tight end Charlie Gantt in between two defenders as the Badgers Antonio Fenelus would pick off the pass.

The Badgers used the turnover to get their offense started and pushed down the field until Badgers James White would go 16-yards to score the first touchdown of the game.

Turnovers would attack the Spartans again as receiver Keith Nichol would cough up the ball fighting for extra yards.

Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien would look to get more points on the board, but the Spartans defense came up strong forcing the Badgers to kick a 49-yard field goal.

Michigan State would bounce back and go five plays before being stopped forcing Conroy to kick from 36 yards. The kick was good moving the Spartans closer to the Badgers.

After another strong stop by the defense, the Badgers learned about the Spartans difference maker on special teams Keshawn Martin. The sophomore would take the low kick and sprint up the middle before taking it to the right edge and out sprinting the Badgers for a 74-yard return and score giving the Spartans a 13-10 advantage.

Keshawn Martin Breaks Free For TD

Martin's touchdown gave the Spartans their first punt return for a score since the 2002 season.

The Spartans would force the Badgers to punt the ball away with 2:40 left before the half. Spartans offensive coordinator Don Treadwell did not look to hold onto the ball comfortable with the lead. Instead, the Spartans drove 69-yards on nine plays and Cousins would hit Mark Dell in the left corner for the score giving the Spartans a 20-10 advantage after Conroy hit the extra point.

After two quarters of play, Kirk Cousins had gone 12-19-2 for 151 yards and one touchdown. Le'Veon Bell was the games leading rusher with 55 yards on 9 carries and Mark Dell the leading receiver with 46 yards and a score.

But the talk of the first half was Martin and his punt return.

The Spartans defense did a great job of holding the Badgers in check as quarterback Scott Tolzien went 5-12-0 for 55 yards. Running back John Clay was held to 49 yards on 12 carries and Jame White scored the Badgers only touchdown early in the first quarter. will have more following the game and some photos from today's contest coming soon.

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