Seniors Show Out in 45-3 Win Versus Rutgers

Nothing but pressure and expectations has been placed on this year’s Michigan State football senior class. After last season’s Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships, the Spartans failed to live up to the unfair hype assigned to them in 2014.

Although there was no big stage or trophy to be played for, in their last game together at Spartan Stadium, the seniors stole the show in a dominating 45-3 win against Rutgers.

Seniors Finish Strong

Senior captain Kurtis Drummond started out the senior show out by intercepting a Gary Nova pass in the first quarter.  On the next drive, Connor Cook found Tony Lippett for a 30-yard touchdown, giving the Spartans a 7-0 lead.

Drummond ended up with six tackles and the one interception. Lippett finished with the one touchdown on five catches for 72 yards, and he became the eighth MSU wide receiver to catch for over 1,000 yards in a season.

Then Jeremy Langford took over.  After increasing the Spartan lead to 14 with an 18-yard touchdown run, Langford ran another score in from 38-yards out, making it 21-0.  Fellow senior running back Nick Hill added two rushing touchdowns of his own, one in the second quarter and another in fourth.

Late in the first half, Cook connected with R.J. Shelton for a seven-yard touchdown, which was the only touchdown of the day not involving a senior. Cook finished with 254 yards and two touchdowns.

After the game, head coach Mark Dantonio praised his senior class, which is on pace to tie the record for most wins out of any senior class in school history.

Dantonio on Senior Class:


“They’re walking out as men, so yeah its emotional. That’s chapter one, chapter two is next week and chapter three will be the bowl game.”

Lippett Plays Both Ways

In what seemed to be a sentimental senior day tribute, Lippett started both at wide receiver and cornerback. Lippett was recruited as both an offensive and defensive player, and had played in the defensive backfield in previous years for MSU. It was not until last season where Lippett made his presence known as a true wideout.

But Lippett did more than just line up at defensive back as a symbolic gesture. In the limited amount of time he saw on defense, Lippett made a tackle and broke up two passes. Drummond and Dantonio both praised Lippett after the game.

Drummond on Lippett Playing Defense:


“Tony has played it before, and he’s an athlete, so it wasn’t anything nerve-wracking for me,” Drummond said.

Dantonio on Lippett Playing Defense:


“It’s not a tribute to him,” Dantonio said. “I felt like we could do that this game. We’ll probably do it next game as well and see how it works out.”

More Tricks up the Sleeve

With the score 35-0 in the third quarter, rather than attempt a 42-yard field goal, Dantonio called for a fake. Sophomore kicker and former soccer goalkeeper Michael Geiger ran and eluded several tackles for 23 yards. The kicker’s impressive run was inches away from being a touchdown, but Geiger was called out of bounds at the two yard line after diving toward the pylon. The trickery ended up being all for naught, as the Spartans turned the ball over on a fumble on their next play from scrimmage.

Drummond on Michael Geiger’s Run:


“Geiger can move, its something about the Mikes, because Sadler isn’t slow either,” Drummond said.

Geiger, after the game, commented that he once ran a 4.65 forty-yard-dash at Michigan State.

But that wasn’t the only trick play for MSU.  Late in the fourth quarter, offensive lineman Connor Kruse received a handoff and ran for one yard. After the game, offensive coordinator Dave Warner said that they practiced the play twice in the week leading up to the game, and that it was designed for Travis Jackson to run. Jackson left the game in the first half with a knee injury.

Connor Kruse on Run:


“I didn’t practice that play,” Kruse said, adding, “…it was actually drawn up for Travis to do, because you know he’s been here for a while. But unfortunately he got hurt and couldn’t do it.”

Moving Forward

Michigan State has one regular season game remaining and a chance at yet another double-digit victory season.  This senior class, along with last year’s Rose Bowl championship senior class, have created a new standard for Michigan State football. Two losses, even to top tier opponents like Oregon and Ohio State, make this season all too anticlimactic.

Unfortunately, now that talks of a College Football Playoff berth and even a Big Ten Title are out of the question, and add the 30-something degree weather and rain/snow, there were not many students in the stands to send off their seniors.

Regardless of how many people were there, or how many people who stayed, Michigan State’s seniors ended their legacy at Spartan Stadium with all the style-points a 42-point blowout can earn.

MSU improves to 9-2 on the year and 8-1 in the Big Ten. A win next week at Penn State could secure them a spot in either the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the Orange Bowl in Miami, the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona, or the Cotton Bowl in Texas. Either of these accomplishments, in years past, would be deemed a tremendous success for a Michigan State team.

Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: Bradley Allen/Impact Sports