<
>

Minnesota dominated by MSU after tough loss at Michigan

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State quarterback Drew
Stanton is facing a hefty dinner tab.

Stanton owes his offensive linemen a meal after setting a school
record with 410 yards of total offense in Saturday's 51-17 victory
over No. 19 Minnesota.

Stanton credited the big guys up front for the honor.

"That's already planned," Stanton said of the upcoming dinner.
"I'll get my piggy bank out, because I've got six hungry guys
here."

The win kept bowl hopes alive for the resurgent Spartans (4-3,
3-1 Big Ten). The Gophers (5-2, 2-2) have lost two straight.

Stanton passed for 308 yards and ran for 102 more. He also had a
4-yard reception.

Stanton's yardage tops the previous school record of 393 set by
quarterback Jeff Smoker against Fresno State in 2001.

Michigan State gained 407 yards in the first half, a school
record, while taking a 31-10 lead. The Spartans finished with 636
yards of offense.

"We're putting up a lot of yards, and we've got good balance
with the run and the pass," said offensive guard William
Whitticker.

The offense has clicked since Stanton entered the starting
lineup four games ago. Stanton, a sophomore, was slowed early in
the season because of a lingering injury to his right knee.

"He has all the confidence in the world, and we have the same
in him on the field," center Chris Morris said.

The offensive production came despite cold, rainy conditions
with temperatures in the low 40s at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans
are now 9-3 against ranked teams at home since 1998.

The Spartans rolled up 324 rushing yards. Jehuu Caulcrick had 94
yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for Michigan State.

Stanton was 20-of-31 with three touchdowns through the air,
including two to tight end Eric Knott. Terry Love also caught a
touchdown pass. Stanton threw two interceptions.

Minnesota coach Glen Mason said it was the worst loss he's
suffered in his seven-plus years with the Gophers.

"The big question is why?" Mason said. "I'm really not sure.
I don't have the answers and really didn't see it coming."

Minnesota couldn't get its vaunted running attack untracked,
finishing with 102 yards.

Laurence Maroney had 54 yards on 13 carries for the Gophers.
Marion Barber III had 36 yards on eight carries.

Both Maroney and Barber entered the game among the nation's Top
20 rushers. Minnesota entered the game averaging 301 yards rushing
per game, third best in the nation behind only Rice and Texas.

Minnesota quarterback Bryan Cupito was 11-of-33 for 211 yards,
with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"They took it to us, and it kind of turned into an
embarrassment," Cupito said.

Ernest Wheelwright was a bright spot for the Gophers, with three
catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

The Spartans jumped on Minnesota early, scoring on their first
two possessions to take a 14-0 lead.

"We started off fast and played hard the entire game,"
Michigan State coach John L. Smith said. "We're continuing to get
better."

Minnesota's Justin Fraley intercepted a pass by Stanton on
Michigan State's next possession. That led to a 37-yard Rhys Lloyd
field goal, cutting the Michigan State lead to 14-3.

Minnesota never got closer.

Minnesota passed up two field goal attempts in the second
quarter, opting instead to try fourth-down conversions to keep
drives alive. The Gophers failed both times, and had an apparent
first down wiped out when referees ruled that Michigan State had
called a timeout before the snap.