It may not have been the win everyone expected out of No. 2 ranked Michigan State on Saturday afternoon in Spartans Stadium in front of 75,215 fans, but Mark Dantonio knows each week will get harder and harder as the Spartans look to win a Big Ten Championship and berth in the College Football Playoffs in 2015.
The sun was out and the weather perfect for Michigan State’s final non-conference game of 2015. Central Michigan came to town looking to upset the No. 2 ranked Spartans and give first year head coach John Bonamego a signature win early in his coaching career.
Central Michigan pushed the Spartans in the first half as quarterback Cooper Rush went 9 of 12 for 109 yards and the Chippewas controlled time of possession with just under 12-minutes. But Spartan defensive ends Demetrius Cooper and Shilique Calhoun spoiled any chance of CMU cutting into a first drive touchdown the Spartans posted on a Madre London touchdown run blocking both field goal attempts Brian Eavey made giving the Spartans a 7-0 advantage after the first quarter.
While Spartan fans were optimistic the day was going to get better for their team, things got ugly with the departure of starting left tackle Jack Conklin with an undisclosed injury that saw him return to the sidelines with a brace on his left knee and his day done.
The Spartans looked ready to find their offensive groove when Connor Cook hit tight end Josiah Price for a five yard touchdown strike late in the second quarter but Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush found Anthony Rice for a one-yard touchdown with eight seconds left in the half to bring fans to the edge of their seats as the Spartans led only by ten points in a game many felt would be a sure blowout.
The third quarter was not productive for the Spartans and Central Michigan chopped away at a ten point lead midway in the quarter when Brian Eavey hit a 42-yard field goal making it 17-10 Spartans.
Things didn’t improve for the home team and then offensive coordinator Dave Warner called on third string running back Gerald Holmes and saw the redshirt sophomore come up big with two touchdown runs in the quarter giving the Spartans their twenty-point margin of victory and moving them to 4-0 as they head into Big Ten Conference play against Purdue next Saturday in Spartans Stadium.
Following the game head coach Mark Dantonio would not comment on the status of Conklin and no one asked about Price who left the game banged up late.
Cook would earn his 27th victory as a Spartan starting quarterback putting him tied with Kirk Cousins as the all-time winningest starting signal caller in program history.
|Central Michigan Chippewas at Michigan State Spartans|
|Sep 26, 2015||1ST||2ND||3RD||4TH||SCORE|
|Central Michigan Chippewas (1-3)||0||7||3||0||10|
|#2 Michigan State Spartans (4-0)||7||10||0||13||30|
|Team Stats Comparison|
|Punt Return Yards||-2||0|
|Kick Return Yards||54||0|
|3rd Down Converstion||7-15||4-8|
|4th Down Conversion||1-3||0-0|
|Red Zone Touchdowns/Field Goals||1-1||4-0|
|FIRST QUARTER SCORING||CMU||MSU|
|8:56||(MSU) Madre London 6 yd run (Geiger PAT Good)||0||7|
|SECOND QUARTER SCORING||CMU||MSU|
|11:20||(MSU) Michael Geiger 47 yd FG||0||10|
|5:13||(MSU) Josiah Price 5 yd pass from Connor Cook (Geiger PAT Good)||0||17|
|00:08||(CMU) Anthony Rice 1 yd pass from Cooper Rush (Eavey PAT Good)||7||17|
|THIRD QUARTER SCORING||CMU||MSU|
|6:24||(CMU) Brian Eavey 42 yd FG||10||17|
|FOURTH QUARTER SCORING||CMU||MSU|
|8:37||(MSU) Gerald Holmes 3 yd run (Geiger PAT Good)||10||24|
|3:21||(MSU) Gerald Holmes 6 yd run (Geiger PAT Good)||10||30|