MINNEAPOLIS – A rain delay, a sloppy start and a late fade could not slow Michigan State’s building momentum.
Not with a return to form by LJ Scott.
The junior running back, who sat out last week’s win at Michigan, returned with a career high 194 yards to pace the 22nd-ranked Spartans’ 30-27 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium.
After a 34-minute lightning delay, the MSU run game produced its best performance of the season to improve the Spartans to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten.
The Gophers’ Demry Croft threw three TD passes to Tyler Johnson in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 1:06 to play. But MSU’s Cody White recovered the onside kick to allow MSU to run out the clock.
• Key play: After a fumble-filled first quarter, Scott took the second play of the second quarter off the left side and followed key downfield blocks from Darrell Stewart, Felton Davis and Matt Sokol. Scott dragged two Gophers into the end zone with his lunge to complete a 24-yard touchdown run that put MSU ahead, 17-6.
• Key stats: Scott became MSU’s first 100-yard rusher since he ran for a previous career-best 160 yards on Nov. 19, 2016, against Ohio State, helping the Spartans run for a season-high 245 yards. Fellow junior Madre London put together a 16-carry, 74-yard game with a touchdown.
• Offensive star of the game: Scott had 25 carries for his 194 yards, the most by a Spartan since Le’Veon Bell’s 266 yards at Minnesota in 2012. Scott added a 26-yard catch in the first half.
• Defensive star of the game: With Spartans’ offense playing keep away for much of the second half, give it to safety Khari Willis for his drive-stopping interception in the second quarter after the Gophers marched into MSU territory.
• What the win means: The Spartans should climb again in this week’s rankings going into next week’s homecoming game against Indiana (3:30 p.m./ABC-ESPN-ESPN2). MSU is tied with Penn State at 3-0 in the Big Ten East Division, while Ohio State is 4-0. The Gophers fall to 3-3, 0-3 in the Big Ten West.
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