Heyward helps No. 11 Spartans hang on for 38-31 win over Utah St.
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Connor Heyward scored his second touchdown with 2 minutes left to put No. 11 Michigan State ahead and the Spartans held on to beat Utah State 38-31 on Friday night.
The Spartans trailed until the second quarter, built a 13-point lead late in the third and fell behind late in the opener for both teams.
Darwin Thompson put the Aggies ahead with a 1-yard run, his second go-ahead score of the game, with 5:05 remaining. Their defense couldn’t make one more stop to beat the highest-ranked team in school history, surpassing the victory over No. 18 BYU in 2014.
Utah State did have one more chance to send the game to overtime — or possibly pull off the upset — but Joe Bachie tipped and intercepted a pass at midfield with 1:15 remaining.
Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke was 23 of 33 for 287 yards with two TDs, an interception and a fumble.
Jordan Love completed 29 of 44 passes for 319 yards with two interceptions.
Heyward scored on a 13-yard run in the fourth quarter and a 17-yard run in the third. He is the son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, an NFL running back from 1988-1998. The sophomore ran for 436 yards and did not score last season.
Michigan State: Mark Dantonio will have plenty of teachable moments to show the Spartans on film. They were able to overcome a sloppy performance against a Mountain West Conference program, but may not be as fortunate against Big Ten competition.
MSU could slip due to a lackluster performance, especially if teams just ahead and behind them in the poll open with a win.