Michigan State Cards Rare Win at Kinnick

(AP) Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns and 13th-ranked Michigan State beat Iowa 37-21 to take control of the Big Ten’s Legends Division. B.J. Cunningham caught a pair of TD passes for the Spartans, who snapped a seven-game losing streak at Iowa dating back to 1989. Michigan State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) took a commanding 31-7 lead with two touchdowns in a 36-second stretch late in the second quarter. Cunningham followed Le’Veon Bell‘s 25-yard TD run with a 22-yard touchdown catch to put Michigan State up by 24 at the break. The Spartans can now earn a spot in the Big Ten title game with wins over Indiana and Northwestern in the next two weeks. Read BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s column and the full AP recap, see the box score and view the Big Ten scoreboard.

Check out our quarter-by-quarter recap, powered by Narrative Science:

FINAL: Le’Veon Bell and Kirk Cousins teamed up to lead No. 13 Michigan State to a 37-21 victory over Iowa on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Cousins passed for 260 yards, while Bell ran for 111 yards and one touchdown. Michigan State’s (8-2) offense dominated, ripping off huge chunks of yardage. The Spartans had six plays of 20 yards or more on their way to victory. With 9:27 to go in the second quarter, Cousins found Keshawn Martin open for a 67-yard pass, Michigan State’s biggest gain of the game. The big play set up a 10-play drive that gave the Spartans a 17-7 lead after Dan Conroy made a 22-yard field goal. Iowa’s (6-4) Marvin McNutt was productive despite the team loss. He scored one touchdown and snagged eight passes, good for 130 receiving yards. The Hawkeyes’ James Vandenberg went 22 of 47 through the air for a total of 262 yards. Vandenberg tossed two touchdowns and one interception. Iowa’s offense finished the game having gained 349 yards. In addition to Vandenberg’s efforts through the air, the Hawkeyes could only muster 87 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Michigan State racked up 441 total yards, including 288 yards passing while completing 19 of 32 attempts. The Spartans’ running game proved effective, netting 153 yards on 40 rushes.

FOURTH QUARTER: Michigan State’s front seven stepped up in the fourth quarter, allowing Iowa to gain just 12 rushing yards, and the Spartans finished off the Hawkeyes 37-21. Michigan State’s passing attack looked sharp, as the Spartans threw for 78 yards in the quarter. Michigan State made its lead 37-21 when Dan Conroy kicked a 48-yard field goal on the last play of a six-play, 37-yard drive. The Spartans’ drive was keyed by Kirk Cousins’ 45-yard pass. Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell rushed for 33 yards in the quarter to put him over 100 yards for the game. Bell finished with 111 yards on the ground. Cousins clinched a 200-yard passing game with 78 in the quarter, part of his 260-yard day for the Spartans.

THIRD QUARTER: Michigan State stuffed the run, giving up just seven yards on the ground in the third quarter and the Spartans now lead 34-21. Michigan State has given up 14 straight points. The Spartans opened up the lead, 34-7, after marching down the field for a nine-play, 47-yard drive that ended when Dan Conroy drilled a 31-yard field goal. Keshawn Martin’s 28-yard pass to Brian Linthicum from the 39-yard line pushed Michigan State into enemy territory. Iowa put a bow on a 28-yard drive when James Vandenberg tossed a three-yard touchdown to Marvin McNutt to make the score 34-14. The Hawkeyes started in good field position when Jordan Bernstine’s big kickoff return. Iowa closed the gap to 34-21 when Marcus Coker pounded in a two-yard touchdown run to cap an 80-yard drive. The Hawkeyes used Vandenberg’s 48-yard pass to McNutt to fuel the drive. Iowa’s McNutt hit 100 yards receiving for the game in the quarter, part of his 119-yard, seven-reception performance thus far. The Hawkeyes’ Vandenberg hit 200 yards passing for the game in the quarter, part of his 208-yard passing performance thus far. The Spartans will start the fourth quarter with possession at their own 33-yard line.

SECOND QUARTER: Michigan State appears to be in the driver’s seat en route to a win, as it leads 31-7 after the second quarter. The Spartans’ passing attack looked sharp, as Michigan State threw for 132 yards in the quarter. The Spartans have scored 17 straight points. Iowa put a bow on an 83-yard drive when James Vandenberg and C.J. Fiedorowicz combined for an eight-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7. Michigan State opened up the lead, 17-7, after Dan Conroy made a 22-yard field goal to end an eight-play, 82-yard drive. The Spartans’ drive was highlighted by Kirk Cousins’ 67-yard pass to Keshawn Martin. Despite driving to the Hawkeyes’ two-yard line, Michigan State had to settle for a field goal. The Spartans added to their advantage when Le’Veon Bell ran 25 yards to paydirt, the last of a three-play, 35-yard drive to give Michigan State the lead, 24-7. The Spartans began the drive with good field position after Martin returned a punt. Michigan State expanded its lead to 31-7 thanks to a two-play, 27-yard drive that ended when Cousins and B.J. Cunningham hooked up for a 22-yard touchdown. A fumble recovery by the Spartans set Michigan State up to start the drive. The Spartans will have possession to start the second half.

FIRST QUARTER: Edwin Baker had a productive quarter for No. 13 Michigan State. He ran for 23 yards and caught a 17-yard touchdown pass, and the Spartans lead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Michigan State got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a seven-play, 64-yard drive that ended in a score when Kirk Cousins and B.J. Cunningham combined for a six-yard touchdown. The Spartans opened up the lead, 14-0, after marching down the field for a three-play, 19-yard drive that ended when Cousins found Baker open for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Johnny Adams’ interception of a James Vandenberg pass set Michigan State up to start the drive. Iowa is threatening to score to start the second quarter and have the ball on the Spartans’ eight-yard line.

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Stacey Nerness on 11/12/2011 @ 3:12pm EST Said:

Getting pretty old seeing MSU fake injuries to try to win the game. Good job Iowa fans for noticing and booing.

Victory on 11/12/2011 @ 4:01pm EST Said:

It’s a great day to be a Spartan, as it is every day.

    Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer on 11/12/2011 @ 7:46pm EST Said:

    I saw it first hand. Incredible, compared to what happened to Michigan State in Iowa City last year. I was very impressed with how MSU ran the ball, which had been an issue most of the year. The D played as well as expected. All Sparty has to do is beat IU at home and win at Northwestern, and it will win the Legends. And it looks like we may have a Michigan State-Wisconsin rematch in the Big Ten title game.