Fifth-year senior Brian Lewerke threw for 320 yards and a touchdown and added a rushing score to lead Michigan State to a 27-21 victory over Wake Forest on Friday in the Pinstripe Bowl at New York’s Yankee Stadium.
It was the sixth bowl victory for coach Mark Dantonio as Michigan State (7-6) avoided a sub-.500 record and provided a small bit of momentum heading into next season.
Wake Forest (8-5) forced a pair of turnovers — an interception and a fumble recovery — to keep the game in doubt, but Michigan State got key stops on defense and was able to bleed the clock in the final minutes.
Elijah Collins ran 21 times for 96 yards to lead the Spartans while junior Cody White had eight receptions for 97 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown.
Junior Jamie Newman threw for 175 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 87 yards for Wake Forest, which closed the season by losing four of its final five games. He had a 29-yard scoring pass to fifth-year senior Kendall Hilton, a 16-yarder to freshman Donavon Greene and a 44-yarder to senior tight end Jack Freudenthal, all in the first half.
Michigan State got a defensive score from senior tackle Mike Panasiuk on an interception return, the run by Lewerke and two Matt Coghlin field goals but Wake Forest took a 21-20 lead into halftime.
Michigan State opened the second half with an impressive 10-play drive that ended with the Spartans taking a 27-21 lead on a 10-yard pass from Lewerke to White.
The Spartans looked like they were going to add to the lead when they moved deep into Demon Deacons’ territory late in the third quarter. But a pass from Lewerke was behind Collins and was intercepted by Wake Forest linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr.
Michigan State had another chance to extend the lead in the fourth quarter, marching inside the Wake Forest 15-yard line before Trenton Gillison fumbled at the 5 and it was recovered by the Deacons’ Ja’Cquez Williams with 11:40 left in the game.
Michigan State had a chance to avoid any late drama, but Coghlin’s 28-yard field goal with just more than three minutes to play was wide left. However, Wake Forest failed to pick up a first down and the Spartans ran out the clock.
—Field Level Media