Jeremy Langford had a run of eight straight games with more than 100-yard rushing last season, but had not burst out of the gate in his senior year.
Due to limited carries in blowout wins, facing a tough Oregon team in Eugune and being hindered by an ankle injury, it took until Saturday against Wyoming for Langford to notch his first 100-yard game this season.
“It felt really good, especially with the game we’ve got next week, getting my confidence up and taking a couple hits,” Langford said.
The senior running back finished with 137 yards rushing on 16 carries with a 29-yard touchdown run.
It was a focus of the game plan to get Langford going after he had just nine carries a week ago in the Spartans’ 73-14 blowout of Eastern Michigan.
”We mentioned coming into today that we wanted to get him going a little bit, get his confidence up and our offense's confidence in him up,” offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. “Coach Dantonio was part of the deal behind that. He made sure that was what we wanted to do, make sure that's what we were going to do.
”He went out and got it done for us.”
Dantonio said after the game the goal was to get Langford 20 carries, which he fell four short of, but he also hauled in two receptions for 12 yards.
Langford opened the game with a 36-yard run down the sideline and cutting back across the field. He provided 52 yards on six carries on the Spartans’ opening drive, which resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Connor Cook.
He had a touchdown run in the third quarter to cap another drive on which Langford provided the offense. He opened the drive with a three-yard run, followed it with a five-yard reception before runs of 17, 14 and 29 yards led to a touchdown to put Michigan State ahead 49-14.
It was a welcome game for the senior, who said it was important to get back to being used to getting the majority of carries, taking hits and carrying the load. Equally importantly, it gets the Spartans ready to head into Big Ten play with all facets of the offense clicking.
“It sends a message because going into the Big Ten season, it is going to be hard-hitting games and tough-nosed games,” he said. “We will need the four yards. That’s how I wanted to run (Saturday), to get the four yards and then you will get the 20-yarder.”