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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio's team chased a championship and caught it last season. Now, the Spartans are pursuing something more elusive.
"You're always chasing perfection," Dantonio said after the No. 11 Spartans scored the program's third-most points since 1931, smashing Eastern Michigan 73-14 on Saturday.
Connor Cook threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, all in the first quarter, as Michigan State (2-1) found the end zone on its first five possessions.
The Spartans finished with their highest point total in 25 years. They beat Northwestern 76-14 in 1989 and blanked Arizona 75-0 in 1949.
Eastern Michigan (1-3) was outgained 320-1 in the first half and surrendered the game's first 20 first downs. The Eagles have been outscored 155-17 by Florida, Old Dominion and the Spartans.
"They were awesome, and obviously I got outcoached in every way," Eagles coach Chris Creighton said. "But I do want to say this: I believe in our guys. I'm undeterred. We will have a wall up when we come out for our Homecoming game. We'll knock it down again and run through it.".
Michigan State finished with 336 yards rushing, 496 in total offense and held the Eagles to five first downs, eliminating some of the sour taste from a 46-27 loss at Oregon two weeks ago.
"I think you are always moving forward," Dantonio said. "Our football team certainly is. We look at what is gone and past and just move on. We take 24 hours, handle this win, then move on to Wyoming."
Cook wound up 5 for 6 for 83 yards before giving way to four other quarterbacks. Delton Williams led 10 Spartan ball carriers with 103 yards and three TDs on 10 carries.
"Obviously, everyone had a bad taste in their mouths coming back from Eugene," Cook said. "We wanted to take our anger out on the opponent, whether it was Eastern, Nebraska, Wyoming, whomever. We wanted to come out and make this a statement game and put up some points."
Cook opened the scoring with a 4-yard run on a read option, following a 43-yard punt return by Macgarrett Kings. Jeremy Langford made it 14-0 less than four minutes later with a 21-yard sweep of left end, juking the only Eagles tackler in sight.
The defense joined the fun on the following snap, as Kurtis Drummond recovered a botched handoff at the EMU 23. Cook immediately found a wide-open Tony Lippett in the back of the end zone to go up by 21.
Cook hit Lippett again for an 8-yard score, rolling right and throwing back toward the middle of the end zone. It was the Spartans' fourth TD in 20 snaps, and they finished the quarter with a 213-7 edge in total offense.
"My mom actually made me a plaque that says, 'Don't listen to criticism,'" All-America defensive end Shilique Calhoun said of the Oregon aftertaste. "You just need to play your game and focus what the coaches are trying to teach you. You don't want to worry about what people are saying, get too high off a win or get too low off a loss."
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