Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fast start from Michigan State gets Spartans out to 35-7 lead at half over YSU

September 11, 2021
<p>Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne runs the ball into the end zone for the second touchdown for Michigan State, bringing the Spartans to 14-0 against the Penguins. Sept. 11, 2021.</p>

Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne runs the ball into the end zone for the second touchdown for Michigan State, bringing the Spartans to 14-0 against the Penguins. Sept. 11, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State is off to another hot start leading Youngstown State 35-7 at Spartan Stadium.

Like last week at Northwestern, all it took was one play for the Spartans to take the lead. The play looked like it was another hand off to junior running back Kenneth Walker III, only for him to take a few steps and flick the ball back to redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne. He then found a wide open redshirt junior wide receiver Jayden Reed in the middle of the field for MSU’s second straight game with a touchdown on the opening play.

After three consecutive possessions without a first down, one from MSU and two from Youngstown State, the Spartan offense marched down the field midway through the first quarter. The drive started out with a terrific run from Walker who initially ran to the right side, but had nothing going so he cut it back to the left for a 24-yard gain. Four plays later, Thorne kept the ball on a read option, and waltzed into the end zone from 10 yards out.

Down 14-0, Youngstown State blocked an MSU punt and took over at the Spartans' 46-yard line. Four plays later, Michigan State took the ball right back on a spectacular highlight reel interception by senior safety Xavier Henderson.

Michigan State capitalized on the Penguins' turnover, taking over on its own two yard line. In just three plays, Michigan State made it a three possession game on a 75-yard bomb with Thorne and Reed connecting again for a long touchdown.

Junior running back Elijah Collins, who did not play a snap last weekend, received his first playing time in the second quarter. The Spartans force fed him and he eventually found the end zone on a 20 yard screen pass from Thorne, giving MSU a 28-0 lead.

Youngstown State finally got on the board the following possession on a long six minute drive capped off by a six yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw.

MSU closed the half with another touchdown drive finished with a six yard rushing touchdown from Walker.

Michigan State's offense has been able to do whatever it wanted for most of the half, totaling 408 yards of offense. Thorne has looked sharp completing 10 of his 14 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Reed only has two targets, but has made the most of them going for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Spartans have been mostly stupendous even while rotating multiple players at different positions. The unit held Youngstown State to just 124 yards of offense in the first half, 45 of those coming in the air.

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