Scores

Final

Montana State 3

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Michigan State 44

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: BTN

12:00 PM ET, September 5, 2009

Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI

1 2 3 4 T
MTST 0 0 3 03
MSU 7 21 6 1044

Top Performers

Passing: K. Cousins (MSU) - 183 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: C. Ray (WIU) - 12 CAR, 71 YDS

Receiving: B. White (MSU) - 9 REC, 162 YDS, 2 TD

Michigan State passes way to rout of Montana State

Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes and Keith Nichol tossed two as Michigan State cruised past Montana State, 44-3, Saturday.

The Spartans (1-0) overmatched their first-ever opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.

Montana State (0-1) has lost four straight against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents since upsetting Colorado in 2006.

Cousins and Nichol are competing to replace Brian Hoyer, now a backup quarterback for the NFL's New England Patriots. Cousins got the start Saturday and completed 10 of 17 passes for 183 yards.

Nichol played most of the second quarter and started the second half. He finished 9 of 18 for 135 yards.

Blair White had nine catches for 162 yards and two TDs for Michigan State.

Montana State struggled to move the ball against an aggressive, swarming Michigan State defense led by linebacker Greg Jones with 14 tackles. The Bobcats finished with just 160 yards of offense compared to 493 yards for Michigan State.

Montana State quarterback Mark Iddins completed 11 of 22 passes for 91 yards before giving way to backup Cody Kempt.

Michigan State rolled to a 28-0 halftime lead with both its quarterbacks playing key roles.

Cousins was 0-for-2 passing on his first series as Michigan State's starting quarterback. But he settled down quickly and gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter with a 29-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open B.J. Cunningham.

Cousins found Blair White for a 15-yard TD on Michigan State's next drive, putting Montana State in a 14-0 hole.

Nichol took over and promptly led the Spartans on another scoring drive to go up 21-0 midway through the second quarter. The drive was capped with a 26-yard TD toss to Dion Sims.

Nichol rolled right and connected on a 3-yard TD pass to Brian Linthicum putting Michigan State ahead 28-0 at the half.

Michigan State kicker Brett Swenson made two field goals to increase the lead to 34-0 midway through the third quarter.

Montana State's best drive of the game came late in the third quarter, ending with a field goal by Jason Cunningham.

Montana State will receive at least $650,000 for traveling to East Lansing, enough to pay nearly a third of its annual football budget.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MTST
MSU
1st Downs1229
Total Yards160493
Passing98318
Rushing62175
Penalties7-555-46
3rd Down Conversions2-147-13
4th Down Conversions2-20-0
Turnovers00
Possession29:1930:41

Passing Leaders

Montana StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Iddins11/22914.100
Michigan StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Cousins10/1718310.830

Rushing Leaders

Montana StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Evans5316.2014
Palmer11282.508
Michigan StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ray12715.9020
Caper7344.9015

Receiving Leaders

Montana StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Akpla4389.5027
Green11818.0018
Michigan StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
White916218.0230
Cunningham36220.7129

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMTSTMSU
TD08:24B.J. Cunningham 29 Yd Pass From Kirk Cousins (Brett Swenson Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERMTSTMSU
TD14:54Blair White 15 Yd Pass From Kirk Cousins (Brett Swenson Kick) 014
TD10:50Dion Sims 26 Yd Pass From Keith Nichol (Brett Swenson Kick) 021
TD00:24Brian Linthicum 3 Yd Pass From Keith Nichol (Brett Swenson Kick) 028
THIRD QUARTERMTSTMSU
FG10:38Brett Swenson 45 Yd 031
FG06:53Brett Swenson 37 Yd 034
FG01:34Jason Cunningham 33 Yd 334
FOURTH QUARTERMTSTMSU
TD14:53Blair White 24 Yd Pass From Kirk Cousins (Brett Swenson Kick) 341
FG05:51Dan Conroy 43 Yd 344