Rutgers beat Michigan State 38–27 in a surprisingly dominant performance in Lansing on Saturday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights appeared to usher in a new era under coach Greg Schiano as he returned this year for his second stint with the program. Turnovers played a huge role in Saturday's game, as Michigan State finished with seven–four in the first half–compared to Rutgers' three.
The Scarlet Knights took an early 14–0 after the Spartans' first two possessions resulted in fumbles. Rutgers recovered Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi's second fumble of the day, which came on the one-yard line, allowing the Scarlet Knights to easily recover the ball and double their lead.
The Spartans' early mistakes could have been chalked up to opening-game jitters, and it looked like that was the case when they finally scored a touchdown late in the first quarter. However, Rutgers continued to chip away at MSU and Tre Avery opened the second quarter by intercepting Lombardi.
Rutgers added two more touchdowns to enter halftime ahead 28–13. The Scarlet Knights last scored 28 points in a Big Ten game in 2017, and they certainly weren't done yet.
Michigan State fumbled again to open the third quarter, marking its fifth turnover of the day.
The Spartans were able to hold off the Scarlet Knights and score again to narrow their lead to 28–20. Naquan Jones recovered the fumbled on Rutgers' next possession, and once again, it looked like MSU had a chance to turn their train wreck around. Both sides traded fourth-quarter touchdowns and Rutgers pulled away to snap a 21-game conference losing streak.
Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral finished the day going 18-for-29 for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Despite his two interceptions, Lombardi impressed for MSU while completing 31 of 44 passing attempts with 319 yards and three touchdowns.
The Scarlet Knights' last Big Ten victory came on Nov. 4, 2017, in a 31–24 victory over Maryland. The program struggled significantly since Schiano departed for the NFL in 2011, and its last winning season came in 2014—the same year it joined the Big Ten. The team went 8–5 that season under Kyle Hood, who was in his third year as head coach.
Rutgers will look to build on its momentum as it faces Indiana next week. The loss will be hard for Michigan State to swallow ahead of its trip to Ann Arbor next weekend to take on intrastate rival Michigan.