Oct. 20, 1996

Michigan State Routs Minnesota 27-9

Sedrick Irvin rushed for 154 yards and Duane Goulbourne added 83 on the ground as Michigan State defeated Minnesota, 27-9, in a Big Ten Conference game.

Trailing 3-0 in the second quarter, Michigan State (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) scored a touchdown and two field goals to take a 13-3 halftime lead and twice found the end zone in the third quarter to put the game away.

Goulbourne's rushing touchdown from two yards out gave the Spartans a 10-3 lead with 5:11 left in the second quarter before Chris Gardner kicked his second field goal of the quarter, a 25-yarder, for a 10-point lead with 32 seconds remaining in the half.

Todd Schultz's 64-yard scoring strike to Octavis Long 2:14 into the third quarter put Michigan State ahead 20-3 before Irvin's four-yard scoring run gave the Spartans a 27-3 bulge with 8:31 to go in the period.

Schultz completed 10-of-16 passes for 180 yards without an interception and Derrick Mason had six catches for 106 yards. The Spartans outrushed Minnesota 243-91 and held the ball for 33:07.

Cory Sauter was 16-of-29 for 189 yards with one interception for the Gophers (3-3, 0-3). Ryan Thelwell caught seven passes for 101 yards for Minnesota, which averaged less than three yards per rush.

NCAAF   FINAL               1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH     TOTAL
                            ---  ---  ---  ---     -----
        MICHIGAN ST           0   13   14    0      27
        MINNESOTA             3    0    0    6       9   FINAL
        SCORING SUMMARY
        1ST QTR: MINN - FG, ADAM BAILEY 22 YD, 4:11
        2ND QTR: MICS - FG, CHRIS GARDNER 37 YD, 5:31
                 MICS - TD, DUANE GOULBOURNE 2 YD RUN (CHRIS GARDNER
                            KICK), 9:49
                 MICS - FG, CHRIS GARDNER 25 YD, 14:28
        3RD QTR: MICS - TD, OCTAVIS LONG 64 YD PASS FROM TODD SCHULTZ
                            (CHRIS GARDNER KICK), 2:14
                 MICS - TD, SEDRICK IRVIN 4 YD RUN (CHRIS GARDNER KICK),
                            6:29
        4TH QTR: MINN - TD, RYAN THELWELL 8 YD PASS FROM CORY SAUTER
                            (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED), 3:23
                                                                        
NCAAF                 1  2  3  4   F 
                      -  -  -  -  -- 
Michigan St           0 13 14  0  27 
Minnesota             3  0  0  6   9  FINAL 
 Minnesota-FG Bailey 22
 Michigan St-FG Gardner 37
 Michigan St-Goulbourne 2 run (Gardner kick)
 Michigan St-FG Gardner 25
 Michigan St-Long 64 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick)
 Michigan St-Irvin 4 run (Gardner kick)
 Minnesota-Thelwell 8 pass from Sauter (two-point conversion
           failed)
                    Michigan St   Minnesota 
First downs                  21          15 
Rushed-yards             56-243       31-91 
Passing yards               180         189 
Sacked-yards lost           1-7        3-25 
Return yards                 35           0 
Passes                  10-16-0     16-29-1 
Punts                    3-37.3      4-40.3 
Fumbles-lost                0-0         0-0 
Penalties-yards            5-32        5-35 
Time of possession        33:07       26:53 

Individual Statistics
RUSHING: Michigan St-Irvin 32-154, Goulbourne 18-83, Crenshaw 5-13, Schultz 1-minus 7. Minnesota-Hamner 18-77, Evans 3-16, Jackson 3-10, Wynn 1-0, Sauter 6-minus 12.

PASSING: Michigan St-Schultz 10-16-0-180. Minnesota-Sauter 16-29-1-189.

RECEIVING: Michigan St-D Mason 6-106, Long 1-64, Keur 1-7, Rance 1-5, Irvin 1-minus 2. Minnesota-Thelwell 7-101, Atwell 4-40, Nelson 3-36, Hutton 1-7, Kratochvil 1-5.

Att: 45,434

Michigan State vs. Minnesota Postgame Coverage

Quotes From The Coaches And Players
MSU Head Coach Nick Saban "We've set ourselves up to do something special with this season. We're very pleased with winnig two games in a row. I think we won this game the way we felt that we had to, and that's by turning it into a boring game by running the football.

"We did the things we had to do to win the game. I think that's really important. I think our players understood a little better what they had to do, because of the type of team Minnesota is. There was never a comfort level, so we had to keep playing hard.

"And we didn't give them a lot of big plays. They got a few, but not what they are capable of.

"I think it was real key that we were able to come out in the second half and score the first two times we had the ball.

(On MSU's ball-control gameplan) "When you're running the ball like that, you pass up opportunities to take some scoring shots. We probably shoud have taken a few more, and maybe scored some more points.

(On MSU's defense) "I wasn't sure we could be able to do it because of all the things they do on defense. We needed to make it hat-on-hat because I think we're a little bigger and more physical, and we were able to do that.

"The defense made enough plays that we didn't let them back in the game, which they were very capable of doing."

Minnesota Head Coach Jim Wacker "There are no gimmies. Let's face it, they kicked our butts. They outplayed us, they outcoached us.

"They beat us in every way. I tell you what, that's one heck of a football team. If you've watched Michigan State the last two weeks, I think you can see they're turning into a dominant team.

"Our players were ready to play. They did a lot of good things early. Michigan State just found a way to win. It's a really good football team."

(On MSU safety Sorie Kanu's interception) "That was the turning point. If we make that simple play it's 10-10. Instead Cory's under pressure and the ball sails on him.

"When their receiver was open, they got him th ball for a big gain. When ours was open, we didn't. That's the story of the game. That's the story of our season."

(On MSU RB Sedrick Irvin) "He's one of the top backs in the country. He's just an unbelievable young talent."

MSU QB Todd Schultz - 10/16 for 180 yards "We've definitely turned the corner as a team because this was the first time we've won two in a row.

"But we're really starting to hit our stride offensively. We didn't commit a turnover, didn't have any holding penalties that negated any big gains. We performed at a highly efficient level."

MSU RB Sedrick Irvin - 32 carries for 154 yards, 1 TD "The more carries I get, the better I feel I run. Coming out of high school, I was used to carrying the ball a lot. I like the work.

"But I'm behind a great back (Duane Goulbourne). I just have to make the best of the chances I get.

"I just had to run hard and go where the holes were. Everything I got today was due to the offensive line. They really did a great job.

"You've got to pick the hole. Because of what the defense does, it's not always going to be where you expect. Myself, I thought it was very confusing for a while today. Minnesota does a lot of things defensively that were different for me. But our offensive line did a good job of picking up on their keys, and making places for us to run. It just took a little time for us to get started.

"Every game from here on out is critical. I think we're in a good position; I feel pretty good with what we're accomplishing. Now we've just got to put everything else out of our minds and work even harder."

MSU RB Duane Goulbourne - 83 yards rushing "When your offensive line is playing like ours is right now, it's hard not to be very confident going into every game. But the biggest difference in our confidence level this year is that it's a team-wide confidence. Last year, everyone knew the offense could always pull out a game for us. But this year, the offense believes in the defense's ability to stop a drive and the defense believes in the offense's ability to keep a drive moving."

MSU WR Derrick Mason - six receptions 106 yards "When they double me, they have to play Octavis (Long) straight. And when they play him man-to-man, they're really rolling the dice."

MSU WR Octavis Long - one TD catch for 64 yards "I just try to beat my guy and use my speed. I just throw caution to the wind and run as fast as I can.

"But if I'd had to go another 15 yards on that touchdown, they still wouldn't have caught me. That's when I would have shifted into third gear."

"(Running) track has really been essential for me. All receivers should run track. And that's what I'm telling our freshmen, Gari Scott and Dwayne Payne."

MSU DT Chris Smith "We're winning the way you're supposed to do it. We're not getting beaten up on the line of scrimmage. That's the biggest difference between this team and last year's team, even though last year's was a pretty successful team. We're consistently doing the basics right."

(On his FG block) "I just try to get a good push on every kick. Desmond Thomas and I tried to push over the guard and get a hand or two up. Fortunately it worked."

(On Minnesota's fake punt attempt, which he stopped) "It was obviously a fake. Everybody knew they were going to try to sneak it. I just shot into the A gap to try to make the play."

MSU LB Ike Reese "The goal was to keep their offense off the field and I think the offensive line did a great job of making it happen."

(On Minnesota's five-receiver set) "They had us a little confused with it at first, but we felt if we didn't let it distract us from our game plan, they'd go away from it. They did. And once we got settled down, I think we did a good job with it anyway."

Minnesota QB Cory Sauter (Entered the game leading the Big Ten in total offense) "It seemed like every series, they had something new to throw at us. They sent a cornerback around the end to pressure. They sent their linebackers and dropped their defensive ends back into coverage a few times. I'd never seen anyone do that before.

"And just when we were starting to recognize and were ready to take advantage of the mismatches, they'd change it again.

"That was probably the best pass rush we've seen since the Syracuse game. If they don't have all that constant push in the pocket, all the coverage schemes wouldn't have meant anything."

Minnesota WR Ryan Thelwell "Coach Wacker tells us every game is a big game, But as far as I saw it, this was the biggest game of the season. It's Homecoming, we had a chance to go 4-2 and turn the corner, but we just didn't get it done.

"I don't know what happened. We had the same chances to burn them on big plays today, we just didn't get it done for some reason.

"We needed this one. Coach needed this one."