EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tyler O’Connor threw for 190 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 12 Michigan State held off upset-minded Furman 28-13 on Friday night.
O’Connor went 13 of 18 with an interception, a generally efficient performance in his second career start. The fifth-year senior is taking over as Michigan State’s No. 1 quarterback after spending the past three seasons backing up Connor Cook.
Michigan State was merely serviceable on offense for most of the night, and that was good enough against Furman. LJ Scott ran for 105 yards and a touchdown, but the Spartans let the Paladins hang around for a while in the opener for both teams.
Down 21-13, Furman took over at the Michigan State 44 with 11:49 remaining after O’Connor’s pass was intercepted. But P.J. Blazejowski’s pass was picked off on the very next play — linebacker Andrew Dowell made a diving, one-handed grab to give the Spartans the ball back.
O’Connor threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Lyles with 4:55 remaining to make it 28-13.
The Spartans have won 18 home openers in a row.