EAST LANSING, Mich. — Mark Dantonio has always embraced Michigan State’s rivalry with Michigan, but this week the confident coach took a fairly calm approach.
“Don’t worry about all the things that are being said — just keep your mouth shut,” Dantonio said. “Get ready to play, start the game and finish stronger than when you started. We were going to let the lion out of the cage at 3:30, and that’s what happened.”
Dantonio’s Spartans battered their biggest rivals for the full 60 minutes Saturday, and 24th-ranked Michigan State remained unbeaten in the Big Ten with a 29-6 victory over the 23rd-ranked Wolverines. Michigan was sacked seven times and finished with minus-48 yards rushing, the worst output in the Ann Arbor program’s lengthy history.
This after the Wolverines had vowed Saturday wouldn’t be a repeat of the game in East Lansing in 2011, when Michigan State’s physicality was too much for Michigan.
“Two years ago was nothing,” Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen said. “It was a lot worse today, and I think they felt it.”
Michigan State (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) has won five of the last six meetings with the Wolverines (6-2, 2-2), and this was the Spartans’ most lopsided win in the series since 1967.
Connor Cook threw for a touchdown and ran for one, but this game belonged to Michigan State’s defense, which solidified its spot among the nation’s best with an overwhelming performance on a rainy afternoon at Spartan Stadium. Shilique Calhoun and Ed Davis had 2 ½ sacks each, and Allen added two more.
“We’re going to bully people — that’s the game of football,” Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. “We didn’t want any personal fouls — we had one stupid one, I think on special teams at the end — we talked really about not getting any penalties. … They’ve got a good football team, but we’ve got a great football team.”
Michigan State entered ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense, and the Spartans looked positively dominating for most of the game. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was sacked four times in the first quarter, and things only got worse for the Wolverines on one drive in the second.
On first down from the Michigan State 49, a shotgun snap sailed over Gardner’s head for a loss of 20. After a sack on third down and a Michigan penalty, the Wolverines finally punted on fourth-and-48.
“A lot of negative yardage plays. There were some pretty good runs once in a while, but when you snap the ball for a 20-yard loss and get sacked I don’t know how many times, your yardage part of it isn’t very good,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “You put yourself behind the 8-ball, not executing and then you’re forced into doing things you don’t want to do.”
Thanks to the sacks and that bad snap, Michigan finished the first half with minus-41 yards rushing. The Wolverines’ best hope was for Gardner to look for big chunks of yardage on deep passes. He completed a few, including a 58-yarder to Jehu Chesson that set up a field goal in the second quarter.
With the score tied at 6, Michigan State’s slumbering offense finally broke through, driving 75 yards on 10 plays for the game’s first touchdown. It came on a 14-yard pass from Cook to Bennie Fowler with 23 seconds left in the half.
No. 4 OHIO STATE 56, PURDUE 0
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Doran Grant picked off Purdue’s first pass, returning it for a touchdown, and Braxton Miller threw for 233 yards and four touchdowns as Ohio State extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 21.
The Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) have not lost in 22 months. Coach Urban Meyer also won his 22nd straight game, tying a personal best established at Florida. Ohio State scored the most points and produced the most lopsided scoring margin in the 56-game history of this series. Both topped the marks set in Ohio State’s 49-0 victory in 2010.
Purdue (1-7, 0-4) lost its sixth in a row.
Gray’s interception helped the Buckeyes take a 28-0 lead after one quarter, and they extended it to 42
No. 8 AUBURN 35, ARKANSAS 17
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Tre Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns as Auburn earned first-year coach Gus Malzahn a win in his return to Arkansas.
Mason scored on runs of 9, 4 and 5 and 12 yards as the Tigers (8-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) won their fifth in a row in Malzahn’s first game in Fayetteville since leaving the Razorbacks as an assistant following the 2006 season.
No. 9 CLEMSON 59, VIRGINIA 10
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Tajh Boyd threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score and Clemson broke the game open with three touchdowns in the last 4:18 of the first half.
The Hampton, Va., native became the Atlantic Coast Conference’s career leader in touchdown-making with a 33-yard pass to Sammy Watkins to start the scoring for the Tigers (8-1, 6-1 ACC). It broke a tie at 112 TDs with North Carolina State’s Philip Rivers. Boyd later added TD throws of 10 yards to Roderick McDowell and 96 yards to Watkins, and scored on a 1-yard run 13 seconds before halftime to make it 35-7.
Virginia (2-7, 0-5) lost its sixth in a row and for the 15th time in its last 19 games. It also suffered its second 59-10 loss at home this season, having lost by the same score against No. 2 Oregon in the second week of the season.
No. 10 MISSOURI 31, TENNESSEE 3
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Maty Mauk threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, leading No. 10 Missouri’s dominant and resilient effort in a 31-3 victory over Tennessee Saturday night.
The Tigers (8-1, 4-1 SEC) responded smartly a week after squandering a 17-point cushion in the fourth quarter of a double-overtime loss to South Carolina. Andrew Baggett banged another chip-shot field goal attempt off the left goalpost, eerily similar to his game-ending misfire a week earlier, but instead of heartbreak they still took a 24-3 cushion into halftime.
No. 12 TEXAS A&M 57, UTEP 7
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Johnny Manziel threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores in less than three quarters to lead Texas A&M.
The Aggies trailed by five points early before scoring 55 straight to cruise to the victory against the overmatched Miners, losers of six straight.
No. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA 34, MISSISSIPPI STATE 16
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Connor Shaw threw for four touchdowns, Mike Davis ran for 128 yards to move past 1,000 yards this season and South Carolina tied a school record with its 15th straight home victory.
Shaw matched his personal best for TD throws after missing two days of practice with a virus. Davis, the SEC’s leading rusher, had his seventh game reaching the century mark and became the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Marcus Lattimore gained 1,197 yards his freshman season three years ago.
No. 16 FRESNO ST. 41, NEVADA 23
FRESNO, Calif. — Derek Carr threw for 487 yards to break the Fresno State career passing record and lead the Bulldogs to an 8-0 start for the first time since 1989.
Carr threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the way for the Bulldogs (5-0 Mountain West).
Josh Harper had 17 catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns and Josh Quezada ran for 115 yards to help Fresno State open with eight wins for the fifth time in school history and keep the Bulldogs in the running to make a BCS bowl game for the first time.
Kendall Brock scored on a 43-yard run on the opening possession for the Wolf Pack (3-6, 2-4), who have lost four straight games in a season for the first time since 2001. Cody Fajardo threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 17 UCLA 45, COLORADO 23
PASADENA, Calif. — Brett Hundley threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two more scores, Devin Fuller scored three touchdowns, and UCLA shook off back-to-back losses.
Damien Thigpen also ran for a touchdown for the Bruins (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12), who rebounded from road defeats at Stanford and Oregon despite a sluggish start in their homecoming game.
Sefo Liufau passed for 247 yards for the Buffaloes (3-5, 0-5), who have lost 13 consecutive Pac-12 games.
No. 18 OKLAHOMA STATE 52, No. 15 TEXAS TECH 34
LUBBOCK, Texas — Clint Chelf threw for two touchdowns and a season-high 211 yards and ran for two more scores to lead Oklahoma State.
Desmond Roland ran for three touchdowns, a week after getting four for Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1).
Chelf scored on a 67 yard quarterback draw, and was 18-for-34 passing with two interceptions.
No. 21 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 63, MASSACHUSETTS 19
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Jordan Lynch ran for 119 yards and four touchdowns and threw for another in just over a half to help Northern Illinois stay unbeaten.
No. 22 WISCONSIN 28, IOWA 9
IOWA CITY, Iowa — James White ran for 132 yards and a pair of late touchdowns as Wisconsin won its third straight.
Joel Stave added two touchdown passes for the Badgers (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten), who are bowl eligible for the 12th year in a row.
Wisconsin’s Pat Muldoon intercepted Iowa backup C.J. Beathard at the Hawkeyes 25 with 7:43 left, setting up an 11-yard TD run by White.
White added a 2-yard touchdown with 1:35 left for the Badgers, who won despite a season-low 62 yards rushing from Melvin Gordon.
Hawkeyes quarterback Jake Rudock had 109 yards passing for the Hawkeyes (5-4, 2-3) before leaving the game in the third quarter with an apparent left leg injury.