EAST LANSING, Mich. — Jerel Worthy and the Michigan State Spartans had a long week to stew after a sluggish performance in their season opener.
Then they took the field against Florida Atlantic, ready to prove a point.
Worthy helped set the tone with an early sack, and No. 17 Michigan State held FAU to one first down in a 44-0 victory on Saturday. Kirk Cousins threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans, who outgained FAU 434-48.
It was a much sharper performance by the Spartans, who were merely adequate when they opened with a 28-6 win over Youngstown State on Sept. 2.
"We always want to come out and play our best game of the season. I think (Saturday) we played our best game — we played a lot better than last week," said Worthy, the standout defensive tackle. "The sky's the limit for this defense."
B.J. Cunningham caught five passes for 73 yards, breaking a tie with Matt Trannon for Michigan State's career lead in receptions. He finished the game with 153.
The Owls (0-2) have scheduled a brutal opening month. They opened at Florida and play at Auburn in two weeks.
"This was a very disappointing thing for us," said FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger, who is retiring after this season. "We thought we'd come up and play more consistently than we have in the past. We didn't. We played absolutely inconsistent and horrible."
S.C. STATE 26, B-CU 18: Quarterback Derrick Wiley's 3-yard scamper put the visiting Bulldogs ahead 19-18 with 4:46 left, and safety Dominique Ellis sealed it with a 55-yard interception return in a MEAC opener. Jamarr Robinson threw two touchdowns for the Wildcats (1-1).
W. ILL. 35, JU 21: Josh Hudson threw for 205 yards and three touchdowns to lead the host Leathernecks. Josh McGregor threw three touchdowns for the Dolphins (0-2).