Oct. 16, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton is facing a hefty dinner tab.

Stanton owes his offensive linemen a meal after setting a school record with 414 yards of total offense in Saturday's 51-17 victory over No. 19 Minnesota.

Stanton credited the big guys up front for the honor.

"That's already planned," Stanton said of the upcoming dinner. "I'll get my piggy bank out, because I've got six hungry guys here."

The win kept bowl hopes alive for the resurgent Spartans (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten). The Gophers (5-2, 2-2) have lost two straight.

Stanton passed for 308 yards and ran for 102 more. He also had a 4-yard reception.

Stanton's yardage tops the previous school record of 393 set by quarterback Jeff Smoker against Fresno State in 2001.

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Michigan State gained 407 yards in the first half, a school record, while taking a 31-10 lead. The Spartans finished with 636 yards of offense.

"We're putting up a lot of yards, and we've got good balance with the run and the pass," said offensive guard William Whitticker.

The offense has clicked since Stanton entered the starting lineup four games ago. Stanton, a sophomore, was slowed early in the season because of a lingering injury to his right knee.

"He has all the confidence in the world, and we have the same in him on the field," center Chris Morris said.

The offensive production came despite cold, rainy conditions with temperatures in the low 40s at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are now 9-3 against ranked teams at home since 1998.

The Spartans rolled up 324 rushing yards. Jehuu Caulcrick had 94 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for Michigan State.

Stanton was 20-of-31 with three touchdowns through the air, including two to tight end Eric Knott. Terry Love also caught a touchdown pass. Stanton threw two interceptions.

Minnesota coach Glen Mason said it was the worst loss he's suffered in his seven-plus years with the Gophers.

"The big question is why?" Mason said. "I'm really not sure. I don't have the answers and really didn't see it coming."

Minnesota couldn't get its vaunted running attack untracked, finishing with 102 yards.

Laurence Maroney had 54 yards on 13 carries for the Gophers. Marion Barber III had 36 yards on eight carries.

Both Maroney and Barber entered the game among the nation's top 20 rushers. Minnesota entered the game averaging 301 yards rushing per game, third best in the nation behind only Rice and Texas.

Minnesota quarterback Bryan Cupito was 11-of-33 for 211 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"They took it to us, and it kind of turned into an embarrassment," Cupito said.

Ernest Wheelwright was a bright spot for the Gophers, with three catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

The Spartans jumped on Minnesota early, scoring on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead.

"We started off fast and played hard the entire game," Michigan State coach John L. Smith said. "We're continuing to get better."

Minnesota's Justin Fraley intercepted a pass by Stanton on Michigan State's next possession. That led to a 37-yard Rhys Lloyd field goal, cutting the Michigan State lead to 14-3.

Minnesota never got closer.

Minnesota passed up two field goal attempts in the second quarter, opting instead to try fourth-down conversions to keep drives alive. The Gophers failed both times, and had an apparent first down wiped out when referees ruled that Michigan State had called a timeout before the snap.

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