EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Drew Stanton threw three touchdown
passes and caught another to lead Michigan State to a 38-25 victory
over Illinois on Saturday.
The Spartans (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) have beaten the Illini (2-4,
0-3) eight straight times. Illinois hasn't won in the series since
1992, and hasn't won at Spartan Stadium since 1989.
Pierre Thomas had 188 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries for
Illinois, but it wasn't enough to prevent his team's 11th
consecutive Big Ten loss.
Illinois scored on a blocked punt to cut a once-commanding
Michigan State lead to five at 30-25 with 14:13 left. Kevin
Mitchell blocked the punt near the Michigan State 20 and teammate
Sharriff Abdullah recovered for an Illini touchdown.
But the Illinois comeback ended there.
DeAndra Cobb capped a 62-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run, and a
2-point conversion gave Michigan State a 38-25 lead with 5:47
remaining. Cobb finished with 93 yards on nine carries.
The Spartans put together their most impressive offensive
showing of the season, gaining 253 yards rushing and 234 passing.
Stanton was 21-of-28 for 199 yards and three TDs. He also ran
for 37 yards on 11 carries.
The Spartans scored on three straight possessions in the first
half to take a 20-2 lead.
Stanton threw his first career touchdown pass in the first
quarter, an 11-yard strike to Jerramy Scott. The play capped a
49-yard, nine-play drive.
Stanton and Scott hooked up again -- in reverse -- for Michigan
State's next score. Stanton pitched to Scott in the backfield, then
slipped down the left sideline to catch an 18-yard TD pass.
But Michigan State botched the extra-point attempt. Holder
Brandon Fields fumbled the snap, and Kelvin Hayden recovered for
the Illini, returning it for a 2-point conversion.
Stanton's 6-yard touchdown pass to Jason Teague early in the
second quarter gave the Spartans their early 20-2 lead.
Agim Shabaj also caught a TD pass for Michigan State.
Illinois starting quarterback Jon Beutjer was pulled at halftime
after completing 10-of-14 passes for 96 yards. He was replaced by
Chris Pazan, but it was Thomas who sparked the Illini comeback.
Pazan was 5-of-11 for 48 yards.
Michigan State begins the toughest part of its schedule next
Saturday, hosting Minnesota. The Spartans also have games remaining
with Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Hawaii.
Illinois hosts Michigan next week.
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