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Live updates: Dantonio not happy as Spartans win 35-21

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Spartans finish the deal against Air Force

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio did not seem happy Saturday. Nor should he be. The Spartans were fine at times but sloppy at others.

Air Force proved to be pesky against No. 4 Michigan State (3-0) Saturday at Spartan Stadium. However, the Falcons could not shut down quarterback Connor Cook who threw for four touchdowns. And their man to man defense could not stop Aaron Burbridge who caught three touchdown passes during the Spartans 35-21 victory.

It was the Falcons (2-1) first loss of the season.

Air Force got chances to get into the game but stalled twice in the red zone and turned the ball over twice. RJ Williamson returned one of the fumbles 64 yards for a touchdown. There are concerns. Michigan State did not run the football well and questions remain in the secondary. Air Force runs the ball 95 percent of the time but seemed to catch the Spartans off guard every time they threw the ball.

"I think we hurt ourselves and did not run the ball very well," Dantonio told ABC after the game. "We came up with some big plays on defense. We did some good things but we had some blows too."

Air Force too little too late

Air Force scored a meaningless touchdown late and has cut the lead to 35-21. There is nothing to worry about for Spartan fans because Air Force did not recover the onside kick

Great red zone defense

Air Force scored touchdowns the first eight times it got the ball inside the red zone. But the Spartans shut them down on their last two times and that will prove big as the Spartans are up 35-14. Coach Mark Dantonio put his starters back in because he didn't want to give up any more points and he wanted to show voters a decisive victory.

RJ Williamson recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown earlier. This time he snuffed out the Falcons with an interception.

Michigan State 35, Air Force 14

Air Air Force

Air Force is really opening up its offense and the Michigan State Spartans might have to adjust. The Falcons threw the ball twice on one drive and completed both of them. Karson Roberts has thrown three passes in the second half and I am now checking to see if that is a school record.

Air Force has outgained the Spartans but turned the ball over twice in the game. The Falcons tried to get back in the game but linebacker Chris Frey did not buy a flip flanker reverse to Jalen Robinette and stopped a fourth and goal play deep inside Spartan territory.

Michigan State 35, Air Force 14

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Air Force caught the Spartans and threw the ball for just the second time this game. The first was a screen pass and the next one resulted in a 38 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Karson Roberts to Jalen Robinette who snuck behind the Spartans defense. The entire secondary stepped up to stop the run and paid for not paying attention on the back end.

Michigan State 35, Air Force 14

Cannot be stopped.

Did I say Aaron Burbridge is a bad man?

Did I tell you that Air Force cannot cover him man to man?

And did I tell you that quarterback Connor Cook likes throwing to the man?

Check. Check. Check.

It happened again. Cook found Burbridge all alone again for a 21-yard touchdown pass as MSU extended its lead to 35-7 in the third quarter. He becomes the first MSU wide receiver to grab three touchdown passes since 2007.

Burbridge gets second touchdown catch

Air Force cannot play man to man against Michigan State's wide receivers. Well at least the Falcons cannot against Aaron Burbridge. He is the man now that Tony Lippett is gone and Burbridge is embracing it. He's run roughshod over this defense and grabbed his second touchdown pass of the game from 32 yards as the Spartans padded their lead to 28-7 at the half.

It was quarterback Connor Cook's third touchdown of the game and Burbridge is his favorite guy now. It looks like they had a lot of one on one time during the off season. Now Burbridge has back to back 100-yard games receiving and the best is yet to come.

Kicking woes

Michigan State should beat Michigan in their annual show down next week. But there is some hope for the Wolverines. If the game comes down to a field goal then the Wolverines might have an advantage for a change. Michigan State is always superior in the kicking game. Not this year. KIcker Michael Geiger had a kick blocked.

However, there was little Air Force penetration. Geiger almost hit a worm burner.

The shame of it was a nice 21-yard catch by Aaron Burbridge on an all out blitz was wasted.

Michigan State 21, Air Force 7

Burbridge catches on

That's a touchdown. Michigan State wide receiver Aaron Burbridge made a spectacular touchdown catch that was initially called an incomplete pass. But he is athletic and somehow put his foot down in the end zone on a 28-yard touchdown reception, capping an 87 yard, 10 play drive. Great catch. Burbridge is now the go to receiver for quarterback Connor Cook. The man can grab anything and is now a premier receiver after some struggles early in his career.

Michigan State 21, Air Force 7

Air Force makes it tough

This game is not supposed to be easy for Michigan State. First of all the Spartans are coming off an emotional night win against Oregon. So the follow up game against Air Force takes some steam out of the day. But Air Force is also a pain offensively with the triple option that teams do not get to see often. MSU has worked off and on for six months on this and is still struggling having given up 104 yards rushing in one quarter.

The Force strikes back

Air Force has put together two straight nice drives. Unfortunately for the Falcons only one resulted in a touchdown. MSU stuffed the middle but DJ Johnson ran to the perimeter and scored easily. But this is not new for Air Force. It is now eight for eight in the red zone.

Michigan State 14, Air Force 7

The Chop block

Air Force has already been called twice for chop block penalties. But the Spartans have been clued in by coaches that is part of its offense. Offensive linemen go low which is dangerous. The aiming point needs to be above the knee and players cannot be engaged. Air Force does it because it is undersized and now AF is blocking high.

Michigan State 14, Air Force 0

He scoops, he scores

R.J. Williamson scooped a fumble and returned it 64 yard to give Michigan State a two touchdown lead. The Air Force seemed to be moving the ball nicely and attacking the Spartans perimeter. But Air Force runningback D.J. Johnson was stuffed at the line of scrimmage and gave the ball up as the Spartans score easily.

Air Force is already in a tough spot.

Michigan State 14, Air Force 0

Michigan State strikes first

When in doubt in the red zone Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook likes to go to tight end Josiah Price. He did it again during Michigan State's first touchdown drive. On third and nine Cook found Price in the end zone to put the Spartans up 7-0 against Air Force. Price is a nice big target at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds. He is a good blocker and a dependable pass catcher

London with great second effort

Give respect to Air Force

This is the first time a service academy has played Michigan State at Spartan Stadium. The Spartan Fund sent out an interesting message that Spartan fans should pay attention to.

When Michigan or Ohio State runs out of the tunnel the first instinct is to boo your hated rivals. But should you boo a service academy in your home stadium? The Spartan Fund encourages fans not to boo and I agree. The men playing for Army, Navy and Air Force could one day be in the battle field protecting our country. These are not just student-athletes. These are our military leaders of the future.

Their job is to serve and protect. So how do you boo?

Our country is under attack from around the world. We need a strong military and we need to support the men and women who want to protect us.

When the Buckeyes and Wolverines come to town boo as loudly as you can. You can even throw in a few choice words if it makes you feel better.

But for one day, why not give a small applause to the opponent?