September 29, 2018 / 7:40 PM / 24 days ago

No. 21 Michigan State overcomes slow start to handle CMU

Michigan State’s offense has been far from a juggernaut this season, and the Spartans struggled to find much of a rhythm for most of the first half on Saturday.

But with Central Michigan in town, the No. 21 Spartans (3-1) had time to find a groove, doing so by the end of the half and pulling away for a 31-20 victory over the Chippewas (1-4) at Spartan Stadium.

It helped to have a defense that created two first-half turnovers that led to 10 points. The first was an interception by junior safety David Dowell that set up Michigan State’s first touchdown drive. The second was an interception from junior cornerback Justin Layne that led to a field goal, giving MSU a 17-3 lead at halftime.

The Michigan State offense responded by scoring touchdowns on its first two drives of the second half to put the game away.

Junior quarterback Brian Lewerke was only 16 of 25 for 185 yards and threw an interception in the end zone, but he scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Spartans. Freshman La’Darius Jefferson ran for 56 yards and had a 2-yard TD run while sophomore Connor Heyward also had a 2-yard touchdown run.

Central Michigan showed some life late in the game, getting a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Lazzaro to Julian Hicks early in the fourth quarter followed by a 40-yard field goal from Ryan Tice, his second of the game.

The Chippewas then pulled within 31-20 on a trick play, with running back Jonathan Ward throwing 29 yards to Tony Poljan for a touchdown with 6:44 to play.

However, Michigan State ran the clock out from there.

The Chippewas struck first with a 40-yard field goal from Tice on the opening drive, but they couldn’t muster much from there, getting just three first downs in the first half.

It wasn’t much better for the Spartans, who punted on two of their first three possessions and saw a promising drive end with an interception by Lewerke in the end zone. It was his fifth of the season and seventh total turnover.

—Field Level Media

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