Posted by Adam Jacobi
MICHIGAN STATE WON. The No. 17 Michigan State Spartans overcame a slow start and dispatched the Youngstown State Penguins, 28-6, under the lights at Spartan Stadium (more on that, by the way, in a little bit). Kirk Cousins was cruelly efficient at 18-22 for 221 yards and a score through the air, and big back Le'Veon Bell punched in two more scores on the ground for the Spartans.
WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: Michigan State is just too talented on offense for YSU to bottle up the attack for four quarters. Cousins had little difficulty finding open receivers, although he didn't have to find anyone other than B.J. Cunningham too often. Cunningham had nine of the Spartans' 18 receptions, 130 of the team's 221 receiving yards, and the team's only score through the air. The performance left him tied with Matt Trannon for most catches in Michigan State history, and with 11 or 12 games left in the season, odds are that Cunningham will obliterate that program record by the end of the year.
WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: Youngstown State never led during the game, but this game wasn't really in hand for Michigan State until Cousins found Cunningham with a rocket of a throw for the 18-yard score, making it 21-6 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: The Spartans may not have looked quite as impressive as Wisconsin did in its Thursday opener, but they did demonstrate the ability to move the ball with ease both on the ground and through the air. Holding YSU QB Kurt Hess to just 135 passing yards on 38 attempts is a major victory for the Spartan secondary, even if they "only" forced one interception.
WHAT YOUNGSTOWN STATE LOST: The Penguins lost little other than pride, although the Penguins and their coaches will not doubt lament the missed scoring opportunities in the first half. An upset wasn't seriously in the cards, even with MSU leading only by eight points in the second half, but the 28-6 final score belies the difficulty YSU gave the 17th-ranked Spartans for the first three quarters.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Late in the second quarter, following a missed field goal by Youngstown State kicker David Brown, a bank of temporary lights went out. The game was stopped briefly, but game officials decided the light levels were sufficient to go forward. No word on if the shanked field goal was directly responsible for the outage.