|Michigan State celebrates after a big fourth quarter stop. Photo by Jason Schott.
The Michigan State Spartans won the Pinstripe Bowl on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, 27-21, over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Michigan State won it with a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter when Brian Lewerke connected with Cody White on a 10-yard pass that capped a 10-play, 73-yard rive that went nearly five minutes.
That was all the Spartans would need, as they pitched a shutout in the second half after a wild first half that saw Wake Forest take a 21-20 lead into the half thanks to three touchdown passes from quarterback Jamie Newman.
Lewerke took Most Valuable Player honors, as he threw for 320 yards, with 26 completions on 37 attempts, with one touchdown pass, what turned out to be the game-winner. He also racked up 46 yards on the ground on 11 carries and a touchdown on a an 8-yard run with 8:13 left in the second that made it 17-14 Spartans at the time.
White had 8 receptions for 97 yards and a TD, while Trenton Gillison finished with 4 catches for 88 yards.
"Great football game," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. "I thought we played very well the second half. Came away with a shutout in the second half from the defense. First half we needed to contain the quarterback, and blew a coverage for a long touchdown on sort of a trick play.
"I thought our guys were relentless. Asked us to describe how we played. I thought relentless really on both sides of the ball. Had a lot of yardage in the second half, really three big drives in the second half. Don't come away with points, a couple of interceptions, an interception and a fumble. Some things you can control, some things you cannot.Huge plays by our defense. Three times on fourth down, getting off the field.
"Elijah Collins had a big day, big runs (21 carries for 96 yards). Brian Lewerke has a big day. Cody White has a big day. Huge catches at the end of the game there in the fourth quarter, contested catches.
"Just can't say enough about our football team and out seniors, that they stayed together. When you win a football game at the end of the year, when you win a bowl game, which so much goes into from a preparation standpoint, it's a good feeling, a very positive feeling. We'll take it from there."
The play of the game may have come late in the first quarter when Michigan State defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk came up with a pass that deflected off two of his teammates for an interception and he raced to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown that gave them a 10-7 lead. That came at the 2:01 mark, just 43 seconds after a Matt Coghlin field goal put them on the board.
For Wake Forest, Newman finished with 175 yards in the air on 12-27 passing, and he racked up 87 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Cade Carney racked up 64 yards on 15 carries. Kendall Hinton had three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Donovan Greene also had three catches, for 29 yards and a TD. Jack Freudenthal had one catch, for 44 yards, and it was a touchdown at the 6:19 mark of the second quarter that put them up 21-17 at the time.