Michigan State (9-3) finishes regular season with 40-7 win vs. Rutgers

The script is officially flipped.

MSU capped off its turnaround season with a 40-7 victory against Rutgers on Saturday, flipping its 3-9 record of a season of ago into a 9-3 mark in 2017.

The win puts the Spartans in contention for a New Year’s Day bowl game.

After losing 24 seniors to graduation and 13 players with eligibility remaining, MSU didn't know where it would get production this season. On Saturday, it got production from the same source as all season: everywhere.

Eleven players recorded a reception, but eight had only one.

Nineteen players had at least one tackle, but no one had more than three.

It was dominance from start to finish, beginning with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Connor Heyward's first career touchdown catch after Brian Lewerke faked an end around to Cody White.

MSU scored on its first three drives of the game, but ended the first quarter with a mere 13-0 lead after two drives stalled inside the Rutgers' 10-yard line.

Matt Coghlin connected on four field goals, including a long of 46 yards.

Things got interesting briefly when a coverage bust allowed Raheem Blackshear to break free for a 42-yard touchdown catch that cut MSU's lead to 13-7 with 14:05 to go in the first half.

Blackshear, a former MSU commit, was standing in the middle of the field with no one around him, before sprinting to the end zone with Joe Bachie unable to catch him.

The Spartans pushed things back to a two-score game two drives later and never looked back, tallying 27 straight points.

MSU went from second-to-last in the Big Ten East Division standings a year ago with a 1-8 conference record to second-best at 7-2.

In his first year as starting quarterback, Lewerke showed major growth from his first action as a redshirt freshman in 2016.

Lewerke completed 58.8 percent of his passes, up from 54.4 percent a year ago and averaged 215 passing yards per game this season after just 95.2 yards last season.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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