Rutgers had played twice before at East Lansing. Both times they had beaten Michigan State. Today the Knights went for the "hat trick" but it wasn't to be.
Rutgers gave its fans an awesome half of football. A sixty five yard touchdown pass to Shawn Tucker led it off but Brian Leonard's 60 plus yard reception set up another score as Rutgers threatened to upset the heavily favored Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans fought back to tie the game up but a 60 yard interception return by Brandon Haw put the Knights back out ahead by seven. Only a second quarter rally by the Spartans allowed them to take a 10 point lead into halftime.
Ryan Hart had a sensational first half.
(AP Photo- Al Goldis)
The second half was a different story. Rutgers opened up with Ryan Hart throwing an interception for a touchdown to MSU's Monquiz Wedlow and things went downhill from there.
MSU dominated the second half to go on to a 44-28 victory over Rutgers.
Tres Moses is emerging as a big time player.
(AP Photo - Bob Brodbeck)
Things to feel good about
Players like Tres Moses, Shawn Tucker and Brian Leonard can clearly play with anyone. Rutgers again showed that it overall talent level of the team has improved substantially.
Ryan Hart had a masterful first half, repeatedly finding open receivers to keep the offense moving against a good Michigan State defense.
The offensive line (at least in the first half) gave Hart enough protection to allow him to be effective.
Things to be concerned about
For the second week running the Knights came out flat in the second half. Last week I warned that that would spell disaster against a team with more talent than Buffalo. Tonight against Michigan State, it proved to be just that.
Special teams play was a mess. Joe Radigan was inconsistent the whole game. A kick off was returned against the Knights for a touchdown and that return may have been the turning point in the game. Overall special teams play was atrocious.
The offensive line could not open up running lanes for the backs and the defensive line could not put pressure and MSU's quarterback.
EAST LANSING, Mich.
(AP) Jeff Smoker threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns and Michigan State
returned a kickoff and an interception for scores in a 44-28 win over Rutgers on
CBS.SportsLine.com - Michigan St. 44, Rutgers 28