Spartans Hold On Against Panthers, 17-13
Key, Caulcrick Tally Touchdowns as Michigan State Improves to 3-0
Sept. 15, 2007
Brett Swenson added a 23-yard field goal with 2:54 left for the Spartans (3-0).
Pitt (2-1) made it interesting by driving to the Spartans' 40-yard line with 4 seconds remaining, but Kevan Smith's long pass into the end zone on the game's last play was incomplete.
Michigan State safety Otis Wiley set up the game's first score when he picked off a pass by Smith and returned it 14 yards to the Pittsburgh 35-yard line late in the first quarter.
On the next play, Brian Hoyer hit Kellen Davis for a 32-yard pass that gave the Spartans first-and-goal from the Panthers' 3. Two snaps later, Hoyer tossed what appeared to be a certain touchdown pass to fullback Jeff McPherson, who was wide open at the goal line but could not hold onto the ball.
McPherson redeemed himself on the next play with a crushing lead block that helped to free up Caulcrick for a 2-yard scoring run, giving Michigan State a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
But 21 seconds later, on Pitt's first play after the kickoff, LeSean McCoy broke loose for a 64-yard TD run that evened the score at 7-7.
Michigan State went up 14-7 with 11 minutes left in the first half after Key intercepted a tipped screen pass from Smith at the Pittsburgh 31 and ran untouched into the end zone.
Conor Lee hit second-half field goals of 41 and 29 yards for Pitt and Tommie Duhart blocked a 41-yard field-goal attempt by Swenson about five minutes into the fourth quarter.
Hoyer completed 14 of 28 passes for 183 yards and had no interceptions. Javon Ringer carried the ball 20 times for 95 yards while Caulcrick finished with 73 rushing yards.
McCoy finished with 172 rushing yards after running for 121 in the first half. Smith was 9-of-18 passing for only 85 yards. Scott McKillop made 17 tackles for the Panthers.