MSU holds off pesky Bowling Green

Published 1:13 am Monday, September 10, 2007

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Special to the Daily Star
EAST LANSING – A fourth quarter drive that chewed up more than eight minutes of game clock sealed the victory for host Michigan State on Saturday against Bowling Green.
The 16-play drive ended with a missed field goal, but it was enough for the Spartans to secure a 28-17 win before welcoming Pitt to Spartan Stadium next weekend.
A persistent running game accounted for two Spartan touchdowns and also opened up the passing game. Quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 17-of-29 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Devin Thomas scored once and pulled in 156 receiving yards on four catches, including a 76-yard bomb in the first quarter.
Javon Ringer was Michigan State's leading rusher with 83 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. Jehuu Caulcrick pitched in 53 yards and a score on 14 rushes.
Against Bowling Green's spread offense, the Spartans allowed quarterback Tyler Sheehan to throw for 295 yards and a touchdown. The defense recorded seven sacks, including three by senior defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic.
MSU was stubborn against the rush, holding the Falcons to only 49 yards on the ground, including a 6-yard scamper into the end zone by Sheehan.
"They spread us out a lot on defense," said Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio, noting Falcons quarterback Tyler Sheehan attempted 51 passes. "When that happens, there are going to be some good things and there are going to be some bad things happening."
Michigan State scored first by capping off a 94-yard drive near the end of the first quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run by Ringer. The Spartans used two rushing plays to set up the 76-yard reception by Thomas. Ringer scored two plays later from four yards out.
Bowling Green tied the score early in the second quarter with an 82-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Sheehan to Tyrone Pronty.
The Falcons took the lead on a Sheehan rushing touchdown with 10:26 left in the half. But, a Wiley Otis interception put the Spartans on the Bowling Green 18-yard-line and resulted in a scoring pass from Hoyer to Kellen Davis to even the game, 14-14, at halftime.
Michigan State jumped ahead 21-14 in the third quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run from Caulcrick. A Bowling Green field goal at the end of the third quarter put the visitors within four points.
The Spartans punted to start the final quarter but regained possession four plays later on a Roderick Jenrette interception at the Falcons' 21-yard line. The offense responded with a five-play, 21-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown catch by Thomas.
It was the second game in a row that Thomas pulled in more than 100 receiving yards and scored a touchdown. Dantonio said his junior receiver had an outstanding summer practice is playing with confidence.
"He had an opportunity to come in and make plays, and he makes plays – whether it's kickoff returns, or catching the deep ball or running reverses or whatever. A lot of it is confidence and opportunities, and he's getting his opportunities.
"The thing that impressed me about our football team is we did handle adversity," Dantonio said. "On offense, probably the most outstanding thing was the drive with seven or eight minutes to go in the game when we were up by 11."
The Spartans now have their sights set on visiting Pittsburgh on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
Bowling Green 0 14 3 0 – 17
Michigan State 7 7 7 7 – 28
MSU – Ringer, Javon 4 run (Swenson, Brett kick)
BGSU – PRONTY, Tyrone 23 pass from SHEEHAN, Tyler (VRVILO, Sinisa kick)
BGSU – SHEEHAN 6 run (VRVILO kick)
MSU – Davis, Kellen 7 pass from Hoyer, Brian (Swenson kick)
MSU – Caulcrick, Jehuu 5 run (Swenson kick)
BGSU – VRVILO 31 field goal
MSU – Thomas, Devin 17 pass from Hoyer (Swenson kick)