Holiday Bowl result: Michigan State launches Washington state without Luke Falk



AP RECAP: Brian Lewerke threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns, and LJ Scott ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns for No. 18 Michigan State, which took advantage of Luke Falk's absence to defeat No. 21 Washington State 42-17 at the Holiday Bowl on Thursday night.

Lewerke also ran for 73 yards for Michigan State (10-3), which bounced back from a gritty 3-9 record last year to reach double digits in wins for the eighth time in the program's history.

Falk, who was photographed at the beginning of the week with a cast on his left wrist, performed warm-ups but left the street dressed at the time of the game. He was replaced by second-year player of the red jersey Tyler Hilinksi, who made his first start and eighth appearance of the season. It is not clear exactly when Falk hurt his wrist with the hand he did not throw, but had problems throughout the season. Coach Mike Leach refused to give details during the week.

Hilinski led WSU (9-4) to a 45-yard field goal by Erik Powellon in the second series of the Cougars, but the Pumas were dominated by the Spartans.

Lewerke threw the first of two TD pbades to Cody White, a 7-yard midway through the second quarter, when he was swept to the left but found the receiver in the end zone.

On the next possession of MSU, Lewerke took the click and looked at his runner, who froze to high school and allowed Felton Davis III to open for a 49-yard touchdown pbad.

Scott scored in a 3-yard run to give the Spartans a 21-3 halftime run.

At the beginning of the third, Lewerke rolled to the left and received a pbad, but a sliding target caught him for a 7-yard touchdown.

Lewerke, who finished 13 of 21, was hit hard by a goalkeeper in the third quarter and came out for some plays. His backup, Damion Terry, scored on a 6-yard goalie to put the score at 35-3.

The Pumas closed the gap when Hilinski threw a 14-yard touchdown pbad to Tay Martin late in the third quarter and a 15-yard pbad to Tay in the fourth quarter.

Scott scored in a burst of 28 yards down the middle when there were six minutes remaining.

Hilinski was 39 of 50 for 272 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception. [19659002] THE TAKEAWAY

Washington State: It was the second dismal Holiday Bowl for the Leach & # 39; s Cougars, who lost 17-12 against Minnesota last year. In addition to not counting on Falk, receiving leader Tavares Martin Jr. was ejected from the team after the regular season and the third major receiver, Isaiah Johnson-Mack left the team.

State of Michigan: Scott had his third 100-yard game of the season and ninth of his career. Felton had four receptions for 118 yards.

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What: No. 16 State of Michigan (9-3) vs. No. 18 Washington State (9-3)

When: 6 p.m. PT, Thursday, December 28

Where: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California

TV: FS1

Live broadcast: Fox Sports Go and Fox Sports Go application

Line: MSU -1.5

More: 46.5

Series history: It will be the eighth meeting between the Spartans and the Cougars, the first since 1977, with Michigan State with a 5-2 series record.

AP PREVIEW: A sharp contrast in styles defines the match at the Holiday Bowl, facing No. 21 Washington State against No. 18 Michigan State on Thursday at SDCCU Stadium.

For the representative of the Pac-12 Cougars Conference (9-3), this marks a kind of redo from a year ago. The State of Washington brought its prolific air attack and accelerated play style to the 2016 edition of the Holiday Bowl, facing an enemy of the defense-oriented Big Ten Conference, Minnesota.

The defense led to the final result, with the Golden Gophers achieving a 17-12 victory, keeping the Pumas to 303 yards of offense. The state of Washington averages 446.4 yards per game this season, to compare.

Washington State coach Mike Leach sees a different Cougars team in 2017.

"The best thing about our team this year is that we are a fairly complete team," he said. "We had quite consistent contributions throughout the season on all three sides of the ball: special teams, offense and defense."

The final result, said Leach, is "with luck (a) higher score" on this occasion. That could be difficult against Michigan State.

In his time at Michigan State, coach Mark Dantonio's teams have thrived on a physically imposing soccer style; one that depends on dictating tempo from the line of scrimmage, particularly in defense.

The Spartans (9-3) are ranked ninth in the nation in yards allowed per game (297.8) and 24 in points allowed per game (20.3) Michigan State held seven opponents to 14 points or less in the regular season, while Washington increased 30 or more eight times.

However, Dantonio said he sees similarities in the teams depending on the results.

"How do I see?" Who knows? I do not know, "said Dantonio." We had the same kind of scenarios. We have outperformed some people and had some other games that have been a bit tight. We have come and gone as well. "

In fact, the state of Washington is betting its reputation is based mainly on the anti-rollover air offensive, for which Leach is credited as an innovator, producing the second highest approval rating per game. Country (374.8) Field Marshal Luke Falk became the all-time leader of Pac-12 in November and currently has 14,481 yards.

"That's great," Falk said at his post-match press conference. match after breaking the record on November 4. I think it's a team award. "

Falk pitched a deep group of receivers throughout his three seasons as a starting quarterback for the State of Washington, and operated behind a solid offensive line, including the outstanding Cody O & # 39; Connell. The Cougars also have a dynamic catcher in Jamal Morrow.

Michigan State is not that different on the offensive side.

"We have men who can make plays everywhere, whether it's a receiver, tight end or running," said quarterback Brian Lewerke after the final regular season win against Rutgers on Nov. 25. "My only Touchdown pbad was for a runner today, so it shows how versatile everyone is. "

Michigan State presents four receiving receivers with between 20 and 51 receptions this season, driven by Felton Davis III. He caught 51 pbades for 658 yards with eight touchdowns.

Although not as explosive as the State of Washington, Michigan State scored at least 30 four times in the regular season.

Similarly, Cougars are not recognized by the defense as Michigan State. But in five of their victories, the State of Washington kept the opponents to 21 points or less.

Defensive tackle Hercules Mata received several awards, including honors from throughout the Americas and Associated Press Pac-12 as Defensive Player of the Year.

Defenses must set the tone in any direction. The state of Washington comes only 14 points in the final of the regular season, a defeat on November 25 against Washington.

Leach said he saw "three Luke Falks" in that game, meaning that Falk started slow, struggling to get on track and finish strong.

For the State of Michigan, the interruption of the quarterback that sets the record of the State of Washington is essential.

"We're going to have to play well in space in defense," said Dantonio. "Always the way it affects the quarterback usually affects the game of football."

If there is anything ready to stop the State of Washington beyond the defense of Spartans, dominated by defensive end Kenny Willekes and Khari Willis and Chris Frey, it is the loss of top wide receivers Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson -Mack. Both left the team after the regular season. That leaves freshman Renard Bell and young Kyle Sweet as the Cougar's best pbad receivers.


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