Sunday, April 14, 2024

SPORTS UPDATE: Spartans top Wildcats in Big Ten play, 39-24

The Spartans opened up Big Ten play today, drubbing Northwestern 39-24 at Spartan Stadium.

MSU (3-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) not only snapped a two-game skid, but showed drastic improvement in its running game with 276 yards on the ground. The Spartans averaged 141.8 yards rushing a game during the first four contests.

Senior tailback Dawan Moss led all rushers with 191 yards on 26 carries, giving the Spartans their first touchdown - a 22-yard run - early in the second quarter. Freshman tailback David Richard also contributed 76 yards on 18 carries.

“This is a lot better feeling today than it has been for the last two weeks,” Spartan head coach Bobby Williams said. “We got off to a great start.”

Wildcat tailback Jason Wright answered with 134 yards rushing on 22 carries.

But it was junior wide receiver Charles Rogers who stole the show. Rogers caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from junior signal caller Jeff Smoker, giving the Spartan’s No. 1 receiver the NCAA and Big Ten records for consecutive regular-season games with a touchdown catch with 13 - 14 consecutive games overall.

However, Rogers was held to three passes for 53 yards in his quietest game of the season.

Spartan junior wide receiver Ziehl Kavanaght had one of his loudest, returning a Brian Huffman punt for an 88-yard touchdown with 1:24 left in the third quarter.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Bobby and his coaches and players,” Northwestern head coach Randy Walker said. “They played well, and they made some plays they had to make.”

On the day, Smoker completed 15 of 24 passes for 263 yards and had two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Sophomore place-kicker Dave Rayner also posted career-high numbers with four field goals - from 21, 30, 37 and 53 yards.

The Spartans take next week off before heading to Iowa (4-1, 1-0) on Oct. 12 to take on the Hawkeyes, a team that surprised No. 12 Penn State with a 42-35 overtime win today. The Wildcats (2-3 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) host undefeated No. 6 Ohio State (5-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) on Saturday.

For information about this report, see Monday’s edition of The State News.


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