Brian Lewerke passed for 320 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 46 yards and another touchdown to help Michigan State (7-6) to a 27-21 victory in the Pinstripe Bowl against Wake Forest (8-5).
Wake Forest got a worthy effort from their quarterback, Jamie Newman, with three touchdown passes and a team-high 93 rushing yards, but the Michigan State defense managed to flex the muscle they needed in the fourth quarter to slam the door shut. After a back-and-forth first half, Michigan State outscored Wake Forest 7-0 in the second half. Lewerke’s 10-yard pass to Cody White in the third quarter gave Michigan State the 27-21 lead, and it proved to be the eventual game-winner.
The Spartans blew three opportunities to create a two-score game in the second half though with a pair of turnovers deep in Wake Forest territory and a missed field goal from just 28 yards out. But given how the season has gone, why should anything have been any easier than it had to be?
The win by Michigan State clinched a winning season for the 11th time in 13 seasons under head coach Mark Dantonio. Dantonio is now 7-5 all-time in bowl games, including a record of 6-5 with the Spartans (1-0 at Cincinnati). Regardless, Dantonio and his future will continue to be a bit of a storyline for the Spartans heading into the 2020 season considering some of the off-the-field storylines floating around East Lansing paired with back-to-back subpar seasons with identical 7-6 seasons while lagging behind the top competition in the Big Ten East Division.
The Big Ten has now won five of the six Pinstripe Bowls it has been associated with, including a fourth straight win with Michigan State’s victory. All games have been played against the ACC, which is also tied to the Pinstripe Bowl. Rutgers has also won a Pinstripe Bowl in 2011, but that was as a member of the American Athletic Conference (Rutgers is 1-1 in the Pinstripe owl as a member of the AAC).
Wake Forest kicks off the 2020 season on the road at Old Dominion on Sept. 5, 2020. The Demon Deacons open their home schedule the following Friday night (Sept. 11) with a game against defending Sun Belt champion Appalachian State. Wake Forest will also take on Notre Dame in non-conference play with a game in Charlotte before jumping into ACC play in October.
Michigan State’s 2020 season will begin with a Big Ten opener. The Spartans host Northwestern to open the 2020 season on Sept. 5, 2020. Michigan State will also play at BYU and host the Miami Hurricanes in non-conference play next fall. Michigan State gets back-to-back home games against Michigan and Ohio State in October and a bye week before a road game at Penn State in November.