September 23, 2014

(AP) - No. 9 Michigan State is favored by more than four touchdowns for the second straight week, though coach Mark Dantonio is expecting Wyoming to provide a better test than Eastern Michigan did last weekend.

Michigan State (2-1) hosts the Cowboys (3-1) on Saturday coming off a 73-14 win over EMU. Dantonio said he doesn't want to run up the score on opponents and the Spartans played mostly second- and third-string players during the second half.

''Every player we put in there we expect to play hard, and that is what they did,'' Dantonio said. ''You can't ask them to slow down. I don't want to run the score up on anybody, but you have to play every play to the fullest. The game went one-sided because of turnovers, I think.''

Eastern Michigan had six turnovers, leading to 31 points by the Spartans.

Backup running back Delton Williams made the score even more lopsided on an 80-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes remaining in the game. But Dantonio said Tuesday he won't allow his team to become complacent entering its final non-conference game.

''Our focus needs to be on getting better,'' Dantonio said. ''We compete against ourselves as well as the opponent. We're still trying to find out who we are a little bit as we move forward. We're going to find out more this week. I think Wyoming is a very well-coached football team.''

First-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl won back-to-back FCS championships at North Dakota State in 2011-12. The Bison won 24 consecutive games during that time with Bohl at the helm. Wyoming runs a pro style offense which is very similar to the Spartans in terms of scheme. That will give Michigan State a different look after three straight games against spread offenses.

''They are probably more like us than anybody we've played,'' Dantonio said. ''I think that's a positive for us. They want to run the football.''

Junior Shaun Wick leads Wyoming in rushing with 404 yards and 6.1 per carry. He ran for 122 yards on 16 attempts in a 48-14 loss to No. 2 Oregon on Sept. 13 - one week after Michigan State's 46-27 defeat to the Ducks.

The Spartans almost certainly have to win out following the loss to Oregon in order to have any hope of making the College Football Playoff, and even that might not be enough without some outside help. The Big Ten took a big perception hit early this season with some prominent losses.

Having won the Rose Bowl in 2013, anything less than a playoff appearance this season could be considered a disappointment. That's not necessarily fair, but it is reality for these Spartans entering their final non-conference game.

''Maybe it's like basketball a little bit where if you don't get to the Final Four, maybe it's not as successful,'' Dantonio said. ''But expectations have something to do with that. You want expectations to be high. That's what we came here for. We came here and said seven, eight years ago that we wanted to win championships and compete for them on a yearly basis. That's what we're doing.''

While Michigan State has found success running the ball with an average of 223.3 yards, it has also shown it can move the ball through the air. Junior Connor Cook is completing 69.7 percent of his passes and averaging 10.8 yards per attempt - the fifth-best mark in the FBS.

The Cowboys didn't do much offensively last Saturday against Florida Atlantic until the final two minutes. Wyoming capped a five-play, 91-yard drive with an 18-yard field goal with 15 seconds left for a 20-19 win.

"This was a huge win for us," Bohl said. "You couldn't come up with a better script than this, especially the way we moved the ball down the field. Certainly it was exciting.

"Sometimes in the midst of chaos our football team shows how far they've come," he added. "We are maturing."

Wyoming has lost 21 straight games to ranked foes since a win over Air Force in 2002, but held its own in a 37-34 loss at then-No. 18 Nebraska last season.

The Spartans have won the only two matchups, most recently in 1977.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)