FINAL: MSU slams Wazzu, puts up season-high points in 42-17 victory
SAN DIEGO — A slow start had Spartan fans squirming in their seats amid a freezing tundra, but the offense exploded for its season-high point total en route to a blowout Holiday Bowl win.
The Spartans scored on five straight drives spanning the second and third quarters. And from there, they never looked back. As the dust settled to conclude No. 16 MSU's San Diego trip, it was the Spartans standing victorious, slamming No. 18 Washington State 42-17.
Despite the blowout MSU victory, Washington State drew first blood. As fifth-year senior quarterback Luke Falk was sidelined by an injury, it was redshirt sophomore Tyler Hilinski who took the reigns.
He orchestrated a long 14-play, 64-yard drive that ultimately ended in a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. But for the rest of the half, there was little to celebrate for Washington State fans.
Other than that field goal, the MSU defense stood stout, forcing four three-and-outs, consistently bogging down its opponent.
And as the Cougar offense idly came off the field often, the Spartan edition exploded for three straight touchdown drives. It started with true freshman Cody White, who set a record for most yards receiving in a true freshman season with 490 yards.
One wide open Felton Davis III and LJ Scott touchdown later, the damage had been done. The Spartans had a commanding 21-3 lead at the break, one the Cougars never recovered from.
But the Spartans didn't let off the gas pedal, instead ramping up the pressure after halftime. White picked up his second touchdown of the day off a tipped pass — and the rout was officially on.
A Cougar fumble then set the stage for another score for MSU. And while quarterback Brian Lewerke went down after a big hit on the doorsteps of a touchdown, it allowed career backup Damion Terry to see the field.
And in heartwarming fashion, subsequently find the end zone. In his final game as a Spartan, no less.
The Cougars didn't go down without a fight, though. They added a pair of touchdowns to make it a 35-17 game with 8:26 left in the game. Wideout Davontavean "Tay" Martin scratched the scoreboard twice for the Cougar cause.
But as some doubt trickled into the mind of the Spartan faithful, it was Scott who put an exclamation point on the game. He broke tackles and broke free all the way to a game-sealing touchdown.
The 42 points MSU scored was a season high, with the previous high as the 40 put up on Rutgers in the last week of the regular season.
To put an exclamation point in the bounce-back 2017 season, the Spartans accomplished their goal of 10 wins. Head coach Mark Dantonio also won his 100th career game at MSU.