MSU offense returns in win against Illinois

Spartans put up 42 points in Champaign and moved to 7-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Big Ten.

For two weeks, Michigan State looked like it had figured it out offensively – whatever "it" was.

Enter Purdue to East Lansing and an ugly 14-0 win for the Spartans and questions came back.

On Saturday, any struggles against Purdue could not have seemed more distant for Michigan State as it routed Illinois 42-3 in Champaign to move to 7-1 and 4-0 in the Big Ten.

Connor Cook and Jeremy Langford teamed up to lead the offense. Cook went 15 of 16 passing for 208 yards and three touchdowns, while Langford had his third straight 100-yard game with 104 yards rushing on 22 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

Illinois opened the game with a long drive which looked like it would end with a touchdown, but the pass from Nathan Scheelhaase to tight end Jon Davis was called back because of a penalty.

Three plays later, Illinois settled for a 31-yard field goal with 9:41 to go in the first quarter.

Starting at the Illinois 44, MSU put together a strong drive behind Langford, who ran six times for 39 yards. The drive failed to get in the end zone, though, as Cook fumbled the ball as he reached for the goal line on an option keeper and Illinois recovered it in the end zone for a touchback.

On the following Illinois drive, Shilique Calhoun hit Illini receiver Ryan Lankford on a reverse and forced a fumble, which bounced around until Marcus Rush recovered it at the Illini 23.

Cook promptly hit tight end Jamal Lyles for an 18-yard gain and Langford found the end zone with a 1-yard touchdown run to put MSU ahead 7-3 on a 4-play, 23-yard drive with 12:40 before the half.

The Spartans run defense came up big on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line as Max Bullough stuck Davis for no gain and MSU took over with 8:17 left in the first half.

MSU put together a drive helped by a pair of Illinois penalties that put the Spartans at the Illini 15, but Cook was sacked on consecutive plays to put MSU back the 29.

On third-and-24, Cook escaped pressure and threw for the end zone and Bennie Fowler. A pair of Illini defenders tipped the ball, which wound up in Fowler's hands as he fell backward into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-3 halftime lead.

Cook was 6 of 6 passing for 81 yards on the 15-play, 99-yard drive which took 8:08 off the clock.

The Spartans came out on the second half and drove 75 yards in 13 plays and Cook found Josiah Price for a 13-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead.

Cook again was perfect on the drive going 4 of 4 passing for 50 yards and moved to 14 of 15 for 161 yards in the game.

Delton Williams and Langford teamed up on another long drive which Langford capped with a 7-yard touchdown run in which he broke multiple tackles.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cook hit Keith Mumphery for a 47-yard touchdown and a 35-3 lead.

With 8:05 left to go, Williams took a handoff from Andrew Maxwell and hit the hole and was gone for a 42-yard touchdown, giving MSU a 42-3 lead.

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