J.J. McCarthy throws four touchdowns, Michigan routs Michigan State, 49-0

J.J. McCarthy threw three of his career-high four touchdown passes in the first half and No. 2 Michigan routed Michigan State 49-0 on Saturday night.

The Wolverines (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) were dominant from the start and didn’t let up, predictably a year after the Spartans roughed up some of their rivals in the Michigan Stadium tunnel.

Instead of kneeling to run out the clock, quarterback Alex Orji ran 6 yards for a touchdown with eight seconds left.

Michigan State (2-5, 0-4) has lost five straight games since former coach Mel Tucker was suspended and later fired for acknowledging he had consensual phone sex with a vendor, who is a sexual assault activist and rape survivor.

McCarthy & Co. didn’t waste much time taking control.

He directed a game-opening, 12-play, 84-yard drive that took more than six minutes and was capped by Blake Corum’s 13th rushing touchdown of the season.

McCarthy followed up with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Roman Wilson, his 10th score this season, in the first quarter and a pair of 22-yard touchdown passes to tight end Colston Loveland in the second quarter.

The Wolverines led 28-0 after two quarters, their largest lead in the series at halftime since going ahead by the same score in 1947.

McCarthy threw his fourth touchdown pass to A.J. Barner midway through the third quarter and with a 42-0 lead, he was mercifully taken out of the game.

The dynamic quarterback finished 21 of 27 for 287 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers. Barner, a transfer from Indiana, set career highs with eight catches and 99 yards receiving. Loveland was just short of career highs, making four receptions for 79 yards.

Michigan State appeared to make adjustments on offense after it was disclosed Michigan is under NCAA investigation for allegedly stealing the play-calling signals used by opponents.

Reserve quarterback Andrew Schorfhaar left the sideline and went onto the field to tell Katin Houser the play to run in the first half. The Spartans reverted to signaling calls to the offense with two staffers on the sideline in the second half.

Nothing worked.

Houser was 12 of 22 for 101 yards with an interception, which was returned 72 yards by Mike Sainristil for his second pick-6 this season.

McCarthy added to his Heisman Trophy bid, playing nearly flawless as he has much of the year. Coach Jim Harbaugh, a former star quarterback at the school, said McCarthy is on pace to be the best under center in school history, and he has the numbers to back it up.

Michigan will likely stay at No. 2 in the AP Top 25.

Michigan hosts Purdue after its bye on Nov. 4.

Michigan State will play at Minnesota on Saturday.

Reporting by The Associated Press. 

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