Consider the script flipped.
Despite settling for four first half field goals from Matt Coghlin, MSU puts its foot on the gas in the second half of its way to a 40-7 win over Rutgers.
The victory means the Spartans have finished the season 9-3, just one year after a stunning 3-9 season plagued coach Mark Dantonio during the offseason.
The result was never really in doubt.
MSU outgained Rutgers 431-112.
Brian Lewerke threw for 222 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 56 yards and a score.
Felton Davis led the receiving core with six receptions for 72 yards.
True freshman quarterback Johnathan Lewis struggled for the Scarlet Knights. He finished 6-for-16 for 98 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions..
London gets in on the fun
Gerald Holmes rushed three times for 26 yards as Damion Terry took over at quarterback for MSU. The Spartans kept it on the ground, even going for it on fourth-and-4, as Terry kept it himself and got a first down at the 3. Madre London took it in on the very next play for a touchdown.
With 3:09 remaining, it's 40-7.
Bachie turns the tide
Rutgers finally hit a big play when Johnathan Lewis found Dacoven Bailey for a 31-yard gain into MSU territory. But that's when things went back to normal, as on the very next play, Joe Bachie intercepted Lewis' pass to give the ball back to the Spartans.
With 9:48 remaining, it's still 33-7.
Lewerke puts the nail in the coffin
Brian Lewerke hit Cody White with a 24-yard strike, the ground game did some work and then Lewerke did the rest himself with a three-yard score that gives MSU a 33-7 lead with 10:39 remaining.
If only college football had a running clock like they do in high school because this game is O-V-E-R.
Total yards: MSU 375, Rutgers 79
MSU continues dominant defensive play
Josiah Scott intercepted a Johnathan Lewis pass and the MSU defense continues to do its job against an overmatched Rutgers offense.
With 14:40 remaining, MSU leads 26-7.
Holmes TD puts MSU up big
Gerald Holmes punched it in from two yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter and MSU has taken complete control with a 26-7 lead.
Brian Lewerke hit Felton Davis to get the ball across midfield. On third-and-8, the signal caller put his head down and picked up a first down with his feet. Two running plays netted just three yards, but MSU got a gift on third down when Rutgers was called for pass interference. Lewerke made another big third down throw, this one going to Darrell Stewart down to the 2.
It's another Coghlin field goal
The Spartans couldn't finish off a drive to start the second half, settling for Matt Coghlin's fourth field goal of the night, a 32-yard kick that makes it 19-7 with 7:29 remaining in the third quarter.
The stat sheet is MSU right now, but they just can't seem to finish off drive and put the Scarlet Knights away.
Lewerke delivered a bullett to Cody White on third-and-10, and Darrell Stewart reeled off a 12-yard gain down to the Rutgers 38. Lewerke stayed in rhythm with a 12-yard strike to Cam Chambers. After an LJ Scott run went for no gain, it was business as usual when Felton Davis hauled in a 13-yard reception of his own. A false start penalty on MSU put it behind the chains and they were forced to settle for the field goal.
Spartan 'D' gets a three-and-out
The MSU defense made quick work of the Rutgers offense in forcing a three-and-out to start the second half. The Spartans will start at their own 31 on their first possession of the second half.
Spartans take 16-7 lead into halftime
MSU got the ball down to the Rutgers 29 with just over a minute remaining in the first half. But, once again, it was penalties that were the Spartans undoing.
At the half, MSU still leads 16-7.
The Drive: Starting at their own 18, Brian Lewerke hit Noah Davis and Felton Davis with back-to-back throws to get the ball out to the 42. LJ Scott went to work on the ground, grinding out 10 yards for a first down into Rutgers territory. On third-and-4, Lewerke couldn't find an open man, so he reversed field and made a play with his legs to keep the drive alive. A clipping penalty on Cole Chewins negated a touchdown on the next play, instead making it first-and-25. The Spartans didn't recover.
MSU had seven penalties for 60 yards in the first half.
Lewerke is 11-for-17 for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Scott has rushed for 46 yards on 12 carries.
MSU adds another field goal
Matt Coghlin hit his third field goal of the first half with a 46-yard field goal that makes it 16-7 with 7:14 remaining in the first half.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, MSU took over right at midfield. Gerald Holmes was able to churn out nine yards, and Darrell Stewart picked up the first down with five yards on the jet sweep. Holmes netted five on first down, but a quick screen went for no gain on second down. On third-and-five, the Spartans tried to run up the gut, but Holmes was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
Penalties haunting Spartans early on
LJ Scott bounced off a couple of defenders to pick up a first down near midfield. He carried it across the 50 two plays later to set up a third-and-4, but MSU's sixth penalty pushed the ball back five yards and they weren't able to convert on third-and-long
The Spartans have committed six penalties for 45 yards early in this game. They still lead 13-7 with 11:07 remaining in the first half.
Scarlet Knights get back in the game
True freshman Johnathan Lewis took over at quarterback for Rutgers on its third possession and was immediately gifted a first down when MSU was called for pass interference. Just when it appeared that was as far as the offense would go, the Spartans were called for roughing the passer on third down, putting the ball across midfield. On the very next play, Lewis fled the pocket and hit Raheem Blackshear for a 42-yard touchdown that cuts the MSU lead to 13-7 with 14:05 remaining in the second quarter.
Spartans add another field goal
After the defense forced a three-and-out, Cody White returned the ensuing punt 21 yards into Rutgers territory.
MSU was able to get inside the Rutgers 5, but they had to settle for a 26-yard Matt Coghlin field goal after a pair of false start penalties.
With 56 seconds remaining in the first quarter, it's 13-0 in favor of MSU.
Lewerke was dropped for a loss on second down, but he came back to hit Felton Davis for a first down that kept the drive alive. After a pair of short runs, LJ Scott was able to haul in a third down conversion of his own to get the Spartans into the red zone. Lewerke ran it up the gut on third-and-short to give MSU another first down at the 7.
Scarlet Knights gift points to Spartans
Rutgers fumbled the ball away on their first offensive play of the game, coughing it up inside their own 10 and setting MSU up with field position just eight yards from pay dirt.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, they weren't able to cash in with a touchdown, instead settling for a 26-yard field goal from Matt Coghlin that makes it 10-0 at the 8:41 mark of the first quarter.
MSU marches to end zone on opening drive
Brian Lewerke hit Connor Heyward for a seven-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal, giving MSU a 7-0 lead on the game's opening drive.
Lewerke hit Felton Davis for a 17-yard gain on the first play of the game. Two plays later, Lewerke was able to get to midfield with a seven-yard run that set up a third-and-short. LJ Scott bullied his way through the line for a first down at the Rutgers 45. On first down, it was Matt Sokol hauling in a 22-yard completion. Lewerke followed that up with a designed quarterback run that got the ball inside the 10. The Spartans were able to get the ball down to the 2 before a third down touchdown run by Lewerke was brought back by an illegal formation penalty.
Michigan State at Rutgers
Kickoff: 4, High Points Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
TV/radio: Fox/WJR 760 AM
Records: Michigan State 8-3, 6-2 Big Ten; Rutgers 4-7, 3-5
Line: Michigan State by 13½