EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Brian Hoyer completed 17 of 29 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns as Michigan State held off Bowling Green, 28-17, in a nonconference game Saturday.
The Spartans' Devin Thomas had four catches for 156 yards and a fourth-quarter TD.
Bowling Green (1-1), a Mid-American Conference team shooting for its second straight upset of a Big Ten opponent, faded in the second half against the more physical Spartans (2-0). Quarterback Tyler Sheehan completed 32 of 50 passes for 295 yards with a TD and ran for another score. Like Hoyer, he threw two interceptions.
Michigan State grabbed a 21-14 lead early in the third quarter on a 5-yard TD plunge by Jehuu Caulcrick. Thomas made the key play in the drive, fighting off defender Kenny Lewis to haul in a 42-yard pass from Hoyer.
Bowling Green pulled to within 21-17 late in the third quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Sinisa Vrvilo.
But the Falcons' hopes fizzled when Roderick Jenrette intercepted a Sheehan pass early in the fourth quarter, setting up Michigan State at the Falcons 25. Hoyer connected with Thomas for a 17-yard touchdown to give the Spartans a 28-17 lead.
Michigan State rattled the Bowling Green offense with seven sacks.
Bowling Green is 3-5 against Big Ten schools since 2003, including a win over Minnesota last week. The Falcons are the only MAC team to beat two Big Ten opponents in the same season, upsetting Purdue and Northwestern in 2003.
Michigan State is 36-6-2 against current MAC members.
Bowling Green put a scare into the Spartans early, capitalizing on a Michigan State turnover to grab a 14-7 lead with 10:26 left in the second quarter. The Falcons' Adrian Baker, a defensive end, picked off a deflected Hoyer pass to set up Bowling Green at the Michigan State 42.
Eight plays later, Sheehan scrambled up the middle for a 6-yard TD run.
Michigan State's Otis Wiley intercepted a Sheehan pass midway through the second quarter, setting up the Spartans on the Falcons 18. Hoyer connected with Kellen Davis on a 7-yard TD pass behind two Bowling Green defenders to tie it at 14 at halftime.