Wednesday, January 19, 2022

FINAL: No. 4 MSU defeats Rutgers, 31-24

October 10, 2015
<p>The State News football writers Nathaniel Bott and Stephen Olschanski are providing a preview of each position group for MSU football.&nbsp;The Spartan's special teams unit struggled at the start of the season &mdash;&nbsp;a lack of long return gains and giving up a small field for opposing offenses was a major weak spot. Everyone returned in the kicking department, and each member should make strides. The return game has&nbsp;a few minor&nbsp;changes but is expected to be more of a factor for 2016.</p>

The State News football writers Nathaniel Bott and Stephen Olschanski are providing a preview of each position group for MSU football. The Spartan's special teams unit struggled at the start of the season — a lack of long return gains and giving up a small field for opposing offenses was a major weak spot. Everyone returned in the kicking department, and each member should make strides. The return game has a few minor changes but is expected to be more of a factor for 2016.

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

Welcome to the live blog for No. 4-ranked MSU (5-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) vs Rutgers (2-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten).

FINAL:

MSU escaped Piscataway, N.J., with a 31-24 victory over Rutgers.

The first half was an anomaly for the Spartans. MSU lead most statistical categories with 259 total yards to Rutgers 163 and 12 first downs to Rutgers four. The Spartans also held the ball for 19:10 compared to Rutgers 10:50, but it was the Scarlet Knights whom went into the locker room with a 14-10 lead.

The Spartans’ special teams could be held accountable for the first half score, as freshman punter Hartbarger averaged just 17.5 yards on two punts and junior kicker Michael Geiger had a 35-yard field goal attempt blocked in the first quarter.

In the second half, the Spartans received the ball and freshman running back LJ Scott went on to score a one-yard touchdown run. The 11-play, 73-yard drive brought the third quarter clock to 9:01 and put the Spartans ahead 17-14.

MSU’s stout defensive play continued on its first appearance in the second half. The offense swiftly took back over with 7:41 remaining in the third and did not take long to capitalize. On third-down with eight yards to go, senior quarterback Connor Cook passed to senior wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett for a 25-yard touchdown completion.

The five-play, 51-yard drive lasted 1:55 and put the Spartans up 24-14 with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter.

Rutgers would answer with a touchdown of its own with 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter. sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano passed 28-yards to senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo, the two players’ third touchdown connection of the game, and the score was brought to 24-21, MSU.

The Spartans held the ball first in the game’s final quarter, but a three-and-out led to a 38-yard punt by junior quarterback Tyler O’Connor to the Scarlet Knights’ six-yard line. Rutgers put together a sustainable scoring drive after converting on fourth down and six at the MSU 44-yard line. The Scarlet Knights marched 91 yards on 16 plays in 8:01 and kicked a 22-yard field goal to tie the game 24-24, with 4:21 remaining.

MSU’s offense took over and put together a last-minute drive after an incredible catch on third down by junior wide receiver R.J. Shelton. It was then senior wide receiver Aaron Burbridge who had an end-around carry to convert on third down.

MSU was able to keep the chains moving and Scott carried in the ball from three yards out to put the Spartans ahead, 31-24, with 43 seconds remaining.

Rutgers had a strong chance at evening the score after the Spartans’ kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving Rutgers the ball at its own 35-yard line.

The Scarlet Knights were unable to tie the game, however, as Laviano spiked the ball on fourth down after a rushed attempt at getting one more play in.

Live Blog MSU vs. Rutgers live blog
 

Do you want the news without having to hunt for it? Sign up for our morning s'newsletter. It's everything your friends are talking about and then some. And it's free!

Discussion

Share and discuss “FINAL: No. 4 MSU defeats Rutgers, 31-24” on social media.