Eliminated: Season will end at Penn State

Fans stayed away in droves from Spartans Stadium Saturday, preferring to stay close to their computers and radios, watching the search for a new head coach play out over the weekend. About half the announced crowd of 65,000 watched MSU fall 31-18 to Minnesota

EAST LANSING - Fans stayed away in droves from Spartans Stadium Saturday, preferring to stay close to their computers and radios, watching the search for a new head coach play out over the weekend.

Their decision resulted in about half the announced crowd of 65,000 fans watching the Spartans drop their seventh of eleven games to fall to 4-7 and in process be eliminated from bowl consideration following a 31-18 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

An announced crowd of 65,000 watched as MSU blocked a punt to take an early 7-0 lead, but then committed a comedy of errors from which they never recovered.

MSU, as is their 'M.O', started quickly, driving to the Minnesota 1-yard line before quarterback Drew Stanton was stuffed on fourth-and-one turning the ball over on downs. Stanton was hit so hard on the play, his helmet was bent and he was forced from the game suffering a possible concussion in the process.

Defensive tackle Cliff Ryan made the most of a bad situation, stuffing running back Amir Pennix in the end zone to give MSU a 9-0 lead.

Stanton returned for one more series, but went three-and-out and his home finale was done. Brian Hoyer finished the game going 26-of-50 for 1 TD and two interceptions.

Hoyer connected with senior Kerry Reed on a 43-yard chunk play that set MSU up deep in Minnesota territory, but facing a 3rd-and-2 at the Gophers 3, Hoyer was picked off in the end zone and it was all Minnesota from there.

Bryan Cupito led a 10-play, 80-yard drive which culminated in Jay Thomas' 3-yard TD run. Mario Reese sacked Hoyer who fumbled and the Gophers Steve Davis returned it 48 yards for to put Minnesota up 14-9. A 33-yard Brett Swenson field goal got MSU to within two points.

Cupito connected on back-to-back TD passes to Ernie Wheelwright (37yards) and Logan Payne (41 yards) to give Minnesota a 31-9 lead before Hoyer finally hit Matt Trannon on a 26-yarder after the game was out of reach.

MSU (4-7) will now mercifully end its season in State College in the annual Land Grant Trophy game against Penn State.


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