Spartans finish undefeated in Big Ten

Michigan State locks up first 8-0 conference season in school history with 14-3 win against Minnesota on Saturday.

Michigan State has a pair of undefeated Big Ten seasons to its name, but Saturday's 14-3 win against Minnesota brought a new level.

With its 8-0 conference record, it marked the first time with eight conference wins in school history – and that was just the start of what the win meant for Michigan State.

"I'm very proud of our football team," coach Mark Dantonio said. "Forty wins in four years. Eleven wins this year. You are going to have some games you've gotta reach back and scratch and dig for things and we were able to do that today. …

"7-0 at home for the third time in four years. 8-0 in the conference, which is the first time that's ever been done. 11-1. Third time we've won 11 games in three years. Not too many football programs in the country can say those things."

The Spartans also became the first time since the Big Ten expanded to 10 teams in 1953 to win all its conference games by double digits – just a year removed from losing five games by 13 points.

The Spartans came out quickly on their first possession and Jeremy Langford scampered in for a 15-yard touchdown. The Spartans drove 80 yards in seven plays, highlighted by a one-handed catch by Tony Lippett on a fade route from Connor Cook.

The game went without scoring until Minnesota extended a drive with a fake punt snapped to fullback Maxx Williams that gained seven yards and a first down. The Gophers drove to the MSU 1-yard line, but Denicos Allen stuffed David Cobb on second down and Mark Scarpinato batted down the third-down pass to force a 21-yard field from Chris Hawthorne.

Following a quick MSU three-and-out, Minnesota tried to put together a two-minute drive but Trae Waynes pulled down his second interception of the game.

After Cook hit MacGarrett Kings for a 24-yard gain to the Minnesota 31, it looked like MSU would score again before the half but Cook was intercepted by Derrick Wells to end the first half.

The Spartans put together an efficient start to the second half as Cook hit tight end Josiah Price for a 12-yard touchdown.

Hawthorne missed a 38-yard field goal on Minnesota's next possession to leave the score 14-3.

Late in the third, Kings broke out for a 29-yard punt return to set up Michigan State near midfield. A double reverse to Aaron Burbridge for 35 yards set up the Spartans at the Minnesota 19, but two plays later Cook was hit by Therien Cockran and fumbled, recovered by the Gophers at their 32.

The Gophers chewed up much of the fourth quarter, but Shilique Calhoun got the Mitch Leidner and Tyler Hoover forced a fumble, which was recovered by Denzel Drone at the MSU 14.

Langford had his seventh 100-yard rushing game in a row, having 134 yards on 21 carries.

Cook finished 10 of 20 with a touchdown and an interception.

Allen led the Spartans with 13 tackles, including two for a loss and a half-sack.


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