Michigan State improves to 4-0 with 30-10 win over CMU

The Michigan State Spartans didn’t receive a big game from star quarterback Connor Cook today, but still cemented themselves as legitimate championship contenders by beating the MAC’s Central Michigan Chippewas 30-10 in East Lansing to improve their overall record to 4-0.

On the game, Cook completed just 11 of 19 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. On the Spartans’ very first play from scrimmage, Cook found receiver Macgarrett Kings for a gain of 42 yards, and Kings made a beautiful catch to boot.

Shortly afterward, running back Madre London ran the ball into the end zone for a six-yard score.

After adding a field goal later on, Michigan State would go up 17-0 following Cook tossing a five-yard pass to tight end Josiah Price, who subsequently became the team’s all-time leader in touchdowns for a tight end.

But then, the Chips found some momentum after having two field goals blocked early in the game. Quarterback Cooper Rush found receiver Anthony Rice for a one-yard touchdown late in the first half, and the score was 17-7 at halftime. After Michigan State punted on its first possession of the second half, CMU would make it a one-score game with a field goal. With star tackle Jack Conklin having suffered a knee injury and unable to play in the second half, Michigan State was going to have to pull of the victory with either a strong defensive effort or rallying offensively.

In the end, the team went with Option B as the Spartans scored 13 points in the third quarter thanks to two touchdown runs by running back Gerald Holmes, for three and six yards respectively.

Central Michigan thus fell to 1-3 on the year despite totaling 340 yards today to Michigan State’s 324. On top of having two field goals blocked on their first two possessions, the Chips could not get the running game going and had just 55 yards on the ground all game against an ironclad Spartans defense.

On top of that, penalties killed both teams. CMU committed nine for 70 yards and Michigan State eight for 78 yards.

At this point, the Spartans must hope that Conklin’s knee injury isn’t going to keep him out long-term. He is one of the best offensive tackles in the Big Ten and does an excellent job protecting Cook’s blindside, and his absence could be the difference maker over the rest of the season, both for beating conference rival Ohio State and keeping Cook in the Heisman conversation, not to mention contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

But a win is a win, no matter how ugly it looks on paper, and Michigan State should be proud of itself. The team will stay at home next weekend for its first Big Ten game of the year, when the Purdue Boilermakers pay a visit to East Lansing and give the Spartans a shot at starting 5-0.

Central Michigan, on the other hand, will head back to Mt. Pleasant and look to pull off the upset against MAC rival Northern Illinois next weekend.

No matter how you look at it, however, Michigan State is now a legitimate championship contender and should be watched accordingly for the next few weeks.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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