Recap: Michigan State vs. Jacksonville St
East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Connor Cook sprinted down the left sideline, pointing his left finger triumphantly toward the stands following his 71-yard TD strike to Tony Lippett on Michigan State's second drive.
It was nice sign after taking a hard hit to his left knee the possession prior.
Cook tossed two of his three first-quarter touchdowns to Lippett and the eighth-ranked Spartans routed Jacksonville State, 45-7, on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
On the final play of Michigan State's first touch, Cook maneuvered in the pocket to avoid pressure and rolled right before lofting a 64-yard TD pass to Lippett for the game's first score. Upon release of the football, however, Cook was cut down at the knees by Polo Johnson rushing off the left edge.
Cook had to be helped off the field, but returned and proceeded to finish the opening quarter 6-of-6 for 189 yards with three scores. Lippett totaled all four of his receptions for 167 yards in the stanza.
The defending Big Ten-champion Spartans, who led 21-0 and outgained the Gamecocks 257-78 in the first quarter, cruised the rest of the way.
Cook completed his first nine passes, finishing 12-of-13 for 285 yards in two quarters of work. Jeremy Langford carried the ball 13 times for 57 yards, while Nick Hill ran for a pair of touchdowns for Michigan State (1-0), which went 13-1 a year ago, winning its first Rose Bowl since 1988.
"No turnovers and very few penalties, we stopped them on fourth down and forced a few turnovers," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. "Based on that, I think we came out and did what we needed to do. We played a dominant football game and we will now move on to the next one."
Max Shortell was 10-of-18 for 117 yards and a touchdown for Jacksonville State (0-1) of the FCS. Josh Barge caught seven passes for 98 yards in defeat.
"You can see why they won the Rose Bowl last year," Jacksonville State head coach John Grass said of the Spartans. "They're every bit as good as advertised, no doubt. Just a solid football team."
A.J. Troup's 17-yard TD reception accounted for the third opening-quarter score, while TD runs of 17 and eight yards, respectively, by Hill in the second preceded Michael Geiger's 35-yard field goal right before the horn to give the Spartans a 38-0 halftime cushion.
Shortell's 9-yard TD pass to Markis Merrill got the Gamecocks on the board early in the third quarter. Tyler O'Connor, who replaced Cook, ran for a 3- yard score near the end of the frame.Game Notes
Michigan State didn't record its first touchdown pass last season until Week 3
... The Spartans were 6-of-13 on third down, kept the ball for 38:05 and
outgained the Gamecocks 565-244 ... Jacksonville State averaged just 0.9 yards