The No. 11 Michigan State football team (11-1, 8-0) capped off a perfect Big Ten season Saturday with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota (8-4, 4-4), and will now move on to face Ohio State (12-0, 8-0) in the Big Ten Championship game.
With sophomore Connor Cook struggling a bit at the helm of the quarterback position on the afternoon, the Spartans rolled with running back Jeremy Langford on the ground, as the junior from Wayne, Mich. once again topped 100 yards for the seventh game in a row, with a 21 carry, 134 yard, 1 touchdown performance.
Langford got it going early for the Spartans, scoring on a 15 yard rush on Michigan State’s opening drive to put the Spartans up 7-0 at the 8:20 mark of the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts and turnovers on the next couple of drives, Minnesota eventually countered with 21 yard field goal late in the first half after a 14 play, 60 yard drive that spanned 7:32 to close the Michigan State lead to four, 7-3.
As Michigan State came out in the second half, they once again drove down the field on their opening drive, this time seeing Cook hook up in the end zone with freshman tight end Josiah Price for a 12 yard touchdown to put the Spartans up 14-3 at 12:20 mark of the third quarter.
Freshman Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner led a late charge for the Minnesota offense. But after a 17 play, 77 yard drive that lasted 9:21 and saw Minnesota convert on numerous third downs on the drive, Leidner was sacked and fumbled on 4th and 10 from the MSU 11 yard line, surrendering the ball and game to the Spartans with under 5 minutes to go, 14-3.
For the Michigan State defense, just like they have all year, they once again came to play, holding the Minnesota offense to just 249 yards of offense, 3 points and for the fifth time in the last six games, no touchdowns.
Players like Max Bullough, Tyler Hoover, Darqueze Dennard, Isaiah Lewis, and Denicos Allen led the charge for the Spartans on the defensive end of the ball, all seniors playing in their final game at Spartan Stadium, all contributors to the winning-est class in Michigan State history.
Underclassmen on this all-time Spartan defense kept it going with sophomore corner back Trae Waynes snagging two interceptions on the afternoon while junior defensive end Marcus Rush finished with two sacks.
For Michigan State, the win means they tie the school record for wins in a season with 11, the two other times achieving the feat being in 2010 when they finished 11-2 and 2011 when they finished 11-3.
But now this MSU football team has an opportunity to improve upon that record.
The only thing that stands between Michigan State and their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988 is a trip to Indianapolis next weekend, where they’ll play for the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State, winners of their last 24 games.
Below is video by David Harns of players discussing the victory over Minnesota and the upcoming Big Ten Championship