NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer

EAST LANSING (AP) — Tyler O’Connor threw three touchdown passes in the first half, and Michigan State snapped its seven-game losing streak with a 49-0 rout of Rutgers on Saturday in what was a matchup of the last two teams in the Big Ten without a conference win.

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Now Rutgers (2-8, 0-7) is alone at the bottom of the league after the Spartans (3-7, 1-6) raced out to a 35-0 halftime lead. LJ Scott ran for 103 of his 122 yards in the first half, and Demetrious Cox returned an interception for a touchdown.

“We sort of climbed out under a rock a little bit,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said.

Rutgers never made it farther than the Michigan State 27-yard line — and on that drive in the second quarter, the Scarlet Knights ended up punting from the 30. The Spartans drove 92 yards the other way and took a 28-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown pass from O’Connor to Josiah Price.

Price caught two touchdown passes, including a 2-yarder that opened the scoring in the first quarter. Cox made it 14-0 with a 30-yard interception return, and O’Connor added a 50-yard touchdown pass to Trishton Jackson later in the first.

“These guys hit us in the mouth. Simple as that,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said.

THE TAKEAWAY

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Rutgers: This was a matchup of two teams at the bottom of the Big Ten, but it didn’t look like they were on the same level. This was a significant setback for the Scarlet Knights, who had been more competitive lately in losses to Minnesota and Indiana.

Michigan State: There’s nothing the Spartans can do now to make up for the horrendous losing streak that derailed their season, but this was about as emphatic as a victory can get. Michigan State outgained Rutgers 440-149 — and did it without injured defensive lineman Malik McDowell.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights return home to face Penn State next weekend, and they’ll be heavy underdogs again.

Michigan State: The Spartans host No. 6 Ohio State. The Buckeyes will be out to avenge an upset loss to Michigan State last year that kept Ohio State out of the national title hunt.

 

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