Michigan State tops Gophers 14-3
By Dana Gauruder
The Sports Xchange
EAST LANSING Mich. -- Michigan State's No. 1 ranked defense held an opponent without a touchdown for the sixth time as the No. 11 Spartans completed a perfect Big Ten regular season with a 14-3 victory over the Minnesota Gophers on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
Tailback Jeremy Langford gained 134 yards on 21 carries and scored the first touchdown for the Spartans (11-1, 8-0), who had already clinched the Legends Division championship. Michigan State will play Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game next Saturday night in Indianapolis.
Michigan State's unbeaten conference season was its third in school history and first since the Big Ten expanded to eight games.
Cornerback Trae Waynes sparked the Spartans' defense with his first two career interceptions. MSU also forced a fumble and had 11 tackles for loss.
Tailback David Cobb had 101 rushing yards on 27 carries for the Gophers (8-4, 4-4), who finished the regular season with two losses after a four-game conference winning streak.
Tight end Josiah Price scored his third touchdown of the season on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Connor Cook, finishing off MSU's 75-yard drive to open the second half. Cook completed three passes for 47 yards to wide receiver Tony Lippett to set up the score, making it 14-3.
The Gophers drove to the MSU 11 on their initial second-half possession but a sack set them back and Chris Hawthorne missed a 38-yard field goal try.
Minnesota squandered another scoring chance with under five minutes remaining when quarterback Mitch Leidner fumbled while getting sacked and defensive end Denzel Drone recovered the ball.
Langford scored on the Spartans' first possession with a 15-yard run, completing a 80-yard drive. They were silenced the rest of the half as MSU clung to a 7-3 lead at halftime.
Waynes led the Spartans' defense with two interceptions of quarterback Philip Nelson, including one in the final minute. MSU had a chance to tack on at least a field goal but Cook tried to throw across the field and was picked off by cornerback Derrick Wells with three seconds left.
Hawthorne's 21-yard field goal accounted for Minnesota's scoring.
NOTES: Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford tied the school record of seven consecutive 100-yard rushing games set by Lorenzo White in 1985. ... Minnesotafinished with its best record since going 10-3 in 2003. ... The Spartans have gone undefeated at home in three of the last four seasons. ... MSU has won every Big Ten game this season by double digits. ... The Gophers have now lost four straight to MSU with their most recent victory coming in 2009 (43-34 at home). ...Minnesota was 8-0 when scoring 14 or more points this season.