Stanton throws school-record five TDs in rout

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Michigan State's record book needs updating.

Drew Stanton set a school record with five touchdown passes and the 17th-ranked Spartans set marks with 705 yards of offense and seven touchdowns in a 61-14 romp over Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both schools Saturday.

Stanton tied the record by halftime, doing whatever he pleased during a 28-point second quarter that turned a 10-7 game into a rout. Illinois (2-2) gave up 318 yards in the first half.

"It was a pretty good outing. He had a good day," Michigan State coach John L. Smith said with a grin.

The Spartans (4-0) entered the game with the fourth-ranked offense in the nation and will likely move up after increasing their average to 594 yards per game.

Michigan State last opened a season with four wins in 1999.

"I apologize to all the Illini fans," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "We didn't coach very well and we didn't play very well."

Stanton's second pass of the day was a 75-yard TD strike to Kyle Brown, and he hit Dwayne Holmes, Jerramy Scott and Matt Trannon in the second quarter to tie the record held by seven others, most recently by Jeff Smoker in a 41-10 win over Penn State on Nov. 22, 2003.

Stanton broke the record with a 2-yard toss to Kellen Davis on the Spartans' first possession of the second half.

"It's a nice thing to have," he said, "but it's a tribute to our wide receivers getting open. It kind of looked easy out there at times. Those guys worked getting open."

Stanton left the game early in the third quarter, finishing 20-of-26 for 259 yards. He was 11-of-14 for 107 yards in the deciding second quarter.

Javon Ringer led the Spartans' rushing attack with 194 yards on 13 carries. He also had two tackles on kick coverage.

Michigan State has now won nine straight against Illinois. The Spartans' offensive output set a Memorial Stadium record for total yards by an Illinois opponent and the 61 points was their most since they scored 76 against Northwestern in 1989.

"There's really no way to put a finger on it," Illini linebacker J Leman said. "It was just awful, awful. Pathetic."

So awful, in fact, that the Illini were burned by the same Spartans trick on two consecutive plays late in the first half.

With just under two minutes remaining and the ball at Illinois' 26, Stanton went in motion and Scott took a direct snap around left end for 16 yards. On the next play, Scott took the snap again and ran untouched up the middle for a touchdown that gave the Spartans a 31-7 lead.

"We didn't play with emotion," Zook said. "We didn't play with the free rein and the emotion you need to be a good team."

Michigan State had 30 plays of 10 or more yards and averaged almost 9 yards per play.

Brian Hoyer relieved Stanton and was 6-of-8 for 70 yards, including a 30-yard TD pass to Kerry Reed in the fourth quarter.

Illinois advanced past Michigan State's 20 only twice but scored both times. Tim Brasic hit Pierre Thomas from 11 yards out on Illinois' second possession and hit Rashard Mendenhall with a 5-yard pass with 9:16 left in the game.

Brasic finished 16-of-30 for 148 yards and was the team's leading rusher with 56 yards. Illinois had 254 yards of offense.

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