EAST LANSING, Michigan — Coach Mark Dantonio was happy that Michigan State smashed Eastern Michigan 73-14 on Saturday but he was even happier with his team's approach after a high-profile loss at Oregon and a long week off.
"Anything in the past is in the past," Dantonio said. "We just need to play forward. Our focus has to be on coming out every game and playing with excitement, playing with enthusiasm, taking care of our job with our mind, our heart and our legs."
The Spartans (2-1) moved up two spots to No. 9 in this week's Associated Press poll and left little doubt that they had left a 46-17 loss to the Ducks in the rear-view mirror
"We were all really disappointed about what happened out in Oregon," quarterback Connor Cook said. "We made it a point with the captains and junior leaders on this team that we were going to put up a lot of points and take out our anger."
That started with five touchdowns on their first five possessions. By halftime, it was 49-0, and Michigan State added an eighth TD in the third quarter before the Eagles (1-3) got their initial first down.
The Spartans played five quarterbacks for the first time that co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner could remember, subbing players faster than hockey teams change lines.
With just six passes and three runs, Cook put more points on the board than Eastern Michigan's entire team.
The reigning Big Ten Championship Game and Rose Bowl MVP ran for the game's first score, then twice found his favorite target, Tony Lippett, to make it 21-0 before the middle of the first quarter.
With the apparent ability to name its score against a program it trailed at halftime two years ago, Michigan State used 10 ball carriers to outrush the Eagles, 336-20. Third-stringer Delton Williams had 103 yards and three TDs on 10 carries, including an 80-yarder to end the scoring with 8:05 left.
"During camp, I was a little banged up, and the bye week helped me a little bit," Williams said. "I think that's part of the reason they hadn't played me. But going into this game fresh really gave me some confidence in myself."
It wasn't about the opponent, only about the Spartans and their focus in the program's third-highest scoring effort since 1932. But Dantonio's staff will scour the video and come up with coaching points before Saturday's visit from Wyoming, the last test before a home Big Ten opener against No. 21 Nebraska.
"When you do see a breakdown, you have to try and correct that," Dantonio said. "There really weren't many breakdowns in the first half. Again, it was very well-executed, and we capitalized on some of their mistakes."
With the Big Ten's most efficient passing game and its best turnover ratio, Michigan State seems back on track to chase another conference title and a berth in the first College Football Playoff.
The Spartans had two brief breakdowns in the second half, allowing Eastern Michigan to score all its points and collect 40 percent of its first downs. But even that hit home with All-America defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who promised better play.
"They were a couple of busted assignments that are correctable," Calhoun said of not registering a shutout. "That kills me a little more because we should have been in position to make those plays. We messed up ourselves."
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