By Andrew Kovac
Finally, Michigan State earned their first conference win Saturday at Spartan Stadium, dominating Rutgers 49-0. In the midst of one of the worst seasons in recent history, a shutout was exactly what the Spartans needed.
“It’s not always the ups that bring you forward, sometimes you have to go through the downs.” coach Mark Dantonio said.
From the freshman to the seniors, Michigan State football came to play. Here are three game takeaways.
1. The Freshmen Shined Brightest
If there’s one thing fans can look forward to, it is the promising future of the Spartan freshman. Receiver Trishton Jackson had two receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown while fellow wideout Donnie Corley brought in two passes for 18 yards. But it was not Corley on offense that caught the fans’ attention. Also playing defensive back, Corley laid out a Rutgers receiver, setting the tone for the Spartans. Through a season plagued by negativity and frustration, it was the freshman who left fans with something to look forward to.
“I look at myself more as a leader than what I am now because our team is so young,” Jackson said. “I have to put the pressure on them just like the other dudes put the pressure on me now.”
2. The Running Game
Michigan State has been known for their running game and it was on full display. LJ Scott led the way, rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Madre London and Gerald Holmes each contributed 52 yards on nine carries with London scoring two touchdowns.
3. The Seniors Have Their Moment
What a roller-coaster ride it has been for the seniors. It is about time they caught a break. On both sides of the ball, the seniors had their moment. Quarterback Tyler O’Connor completed 10- of-15 passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. He also had a quarterback rating of 98. On defense, safety Demetrious Cox returned an interception for a touchdown and linebacker Riley Bullough added six tackles. Dubbed as “the magician”, fifth-year senior tight end Josiah Price placed himself in the Michigan State record books. He hauled in his 20th and 21st touchdown receptions, becoming fourth all-time.
The Spartans face Ohio State in East Lansing next Saturday and freshman Jackson is more than up for the challenge.
“We can do big things,” Jackson said.
The Buckeyes face the Spartans at 12:00 p.m. ET