Gophers continue to roll in dominating 34-7 win over Michigan State
Victory marked first time Minnesota won in East Lansing since 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. — When Michigan State’s offense finally earned a first down on its third drive Saturday, the more than 70,000 fans at Spartan Stadium gave their team a mocking cheer.
By that point, the Gophers’ offense had been humming along with 14 first downs and a 17-0 lead.
The Spartans finally started to click to begin the third quarter, but their 70-yard drive deep into Minnesota territory was dashed when Thomas Rush forced a fumble and Justin Walley recovered it.
Minnesota then put together a 90-yard touchdown drive to deflate any hope for a Spartans comeback in a 34-7 victory.
The Big Ten opener was supposed to be a stiff test after Minnesota had manhandled three inferior nonconference opponents. But it was more of the same.
Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) was a three-point favorite and made that look outrageously conservative against Michigan State (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten).
Minnesota had lost five straight to Michigan State since 2009, and the Gophers hadn’t traveled to East Lansing since 2013, when they lost 14-3. The Gophers had prepared for a hostile environment Saturday, but their play made it docile.
Before the Spartans earned a first down, their fans had more genuine applause for a frisbee-catching dog who entertained during a timeout break.
The Gophers lost top receiver Chris Autman-Bell to a season-ending knee injury last week, but 10 others caught passes Saturday.
Tanner Morgan completed 23 of 26 yards for 268 yards with three touchdowns, two to Daniel Jackson and one to Nick Kallerup.
The Gophers led 17-0 at the half, and they started very fast.
Minnesota generated some big passing plays on its opening drive, with Morgan completions to Michael Brown Stephens (11 yards), Dylan Wright (15) and Brevyn Spann-Ford (18). It was just the start.
After Mo Ibrahim had his own big gain of 21 yards on one rush, he capped the long drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. It was his 41st career touchdown, which broke a tie with Darrell Thompson for most in program history.
The Spartans punted on their opening two drives, and Minnesota kicker Matthew Trickett tacked on a 26-yard field goal to make it 17-0.
It was still early, but it was way more than enough.
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