Scores

Final

Minnesota 8

(1-9, 0-6 Big Ten)

(16) Michigan State 31

(9-1, 5-1 Big Ten)

Coverage: BTN

12:00 PM ET, November 6, 2010

Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI

1 2 3 4 T
MINN 0 0 0 88
#16MSU 7 14 3 731

Top Performers

Passing: A. Weber (MINN) - 167 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: E. Baker (MSU) - 27 CAR, 179 YDS, 4 TD

Receiving: D. Bennett (MINN) - 7 REC, 57 YDS

Edwin Baker runs for 179 yards and 4 TDs to power Michigan State

Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- This was exactly what Michigan State needed after last weekend's blowout loss: an early lead, a revitalized running game and an easy victory against an overmatched opponent.

Edwin Baker ran for 179 yards and four touchdowns, and the Spartans (No. 14 BCS, No. 16 AP) bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a 31-8 win over Minnesota on Saturday.

"We needed someone to give us a push to get this one, and I wasn't the only one," Baker said. "We just went back to basics. We haven't run the ball well in four games, and we worked hard on running it in practice."

Baker scored twice on fourth down near the goal line to help the Spartans (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) take a 21-0 halftime lead. Minnesota (1-9, 0-6) never threatened after that en route to its ninth straight loss.

Michigan State won its first eight games before being blown out 37-6 by Iowa last weekend. Baker turned things around this week with scoring runs of 30, 1 and 1 yard in the first half, and another 1-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions in the Iowa loss, but didn't have to do much against the Golden Gophers. He went 9 of 20 for 131 yards with an interception, and his record-tying streak of 16 games with a touchdown pass came to an end. He shares that school record with Drew Stanton.

Cousins' deep pass over the middle was nearly intercepted early in the first quarter, but immediately after that, Baker scored his 30-yard touchdown.

"We got back to what we like to do best," Cousins said. "I think that first drive, we were able to just run it down the field. ... We hadn't been starting fast."

Michigan State had been outscored 30-0 in the first quarter in its previous four games, and the Spartans hadn't enjoyed a comfortable early lead in a while. Two weeks ago, they trailed Northwestern 17-0 before rallying to win, then they allowed the first 37 points to Iowa.

This time, Michigan State opened up a big lead thanks to a couple aggressive decisions in the second quarter. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Baker scored on a run over the right side of the offensive line. Then, facing fourth down from the 1 again near the end of the half, Michigan State let the clock run before calling a timeout with 4 seconds left. Baker found a hole for an easy touchdown.

"That wasn't an easy 21-0," coach Mark Dantonio said. "I thought that was a critical play, getting that touchdown and sort of putting it on the line a little bit for our football team in doing that. It shows that we have faith in our offensive line and in our running backs."

Minnesota, which fired coach Tim Brewster last month, struggled to move the ball against the Spartans. Senior Adam Weber went 15 of 22 for 167 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his 48th consecutive start, but the Golden Gophers also let MarQueis Gray take some snaps at quarterback.

"That was a pretty good surprise this week, wasn't it?" Minnesota interim coach Jeff Horton said. "We talked about doing it this week. We worked on it, put a package in at practice. We thought we'd give him an opportunity to work in this game. I thought he did some good things there."

Weber holds the Big Ten record for consecutive starts by a quarterback.

Gray, who also plays wide receiver, caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Weber in the fourth quarter after an interception gave Minnesota the ball at the Michigan State 20.

Baker's final touchdown made it 31-8 with 5:24 left in the game. He nearly scored on a longer run on the previous play, but the ball was spotted at the 1 after an official review.

Baker and Le'Veon Bell have both been threats for Michigan State out of the backfield this season, but Bell carried only six times Saturday, and half of those runs were on the final possession as Michigan State was running out the clock. The Spartans snapped a three-game losing streak against Minnesota, beating the Gophers for the first time since 2004.

"The explosive runs that Edwin had were exceptional," Dantonio said. "So we stick with the guy and gave him the carries."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MINN
MSU
1st Downs1416
Total Yards267320
Passing191131
Rushing76189
Penalties7-604-31
3rd Down Conversions2-125-13
4th Down Conversions3-52-2
Turnovers11
Possession29:3630:24

Passing Leaders

MinnesotaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Weber15/221677.611
Michigan StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Cousins9/201316.601

Rushing Leaders

MinnesotaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Eskridge17311.8011
Gray5316.2011
Michigan StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Baker271796.6430
Fowler3134.3014

Receiving Leaders

MinnesotaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lair45914.8027
Bennett7578.1022
Michigan StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Cunningham44010.0024
Dell23517.5020

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINNMSU
TD08:38Edwin Baker 30 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERMINNMSU
TD06:03Edwin Baker 1 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick) 014
TD00:00Edwin Baker 1 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick) 021
THIRD QUARTERMINNMSU
FG10:31Dan Conroy 24 Yd 024
FOURTH QUARTERMINNMSU
TD10:58MarQueis Gray 9 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Adam Weber Pass To Deleon Eskridge For Two-Point Conversion) 824
TD05:24Edwin Baker 1 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick) 831