Air Force (2-1) was already undermanned for their stiff road test at No. 4 Michigan State (3-0), but the loss of starting quarterback Nate Romine this week may have had little impact on the final result in East Lansing. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook tossed four touchdowns to fuel Michigan State to a 35-21 victory, although Air Force showed some good fight in the second half.
Michigan State took a 28-7 lead into halftime but the offense did not do much in the second half. The Spartans scored just once after halftime, with Cook completed his fourth touchdown pass to Aaron Burnbridge early in the third quarter, the third time that duo hooked up for a score. That put Sparty up 35-7, allowing the emerging Big Ten and playoff contending Spartans to go on cruise control. Credit Air Force’s defense for doing its part to slow things down as well. Michigan State went three-and-out on their next two offensive possessions and turned the football over on downs the next. Air Force’s offense piled up yardage to end the day with 104 more total yards of offense than Michigan State, but the damage had already been done where it counts the most, on the scoreboard.
Michigan State’s defense forced three turnovers in the game, while the offense never lost control. One Air Force fumble was returned for a touchdown, but the other two Falcons turnovers led to nothing more than a punt form Michigan State later in the game.
Michigan State will play one more non-conference game before opening their Big Ten schedule. The Spartans face Central Michigan in Spartan Stadium next Saturday, and open conference play the next week at home against Purdue.
Air Force did not help the Mountain West Conference shake off a rough Week 2 by losing on the road this week, but they still could be a team to look out for in the MWC this season, especially with Boise State showing some holes early on. Air Force will take on service academy rival Navy in two weeks after getting a week off next weekend.