EAST LANSING, Mich. – Connor Heyward scored his second touchdown with 2 minutes left to put No. 11 Michigan State ahead, and the Spartans held on to beat Utah State 38-31 on Friday night.
The Spartans trailed until the second quarter, built a 13-point lead late in the third and fell behind late in the opener for both teams.
Darwin Thompson put the Aggies ahead with a 1-yard run, his second go-ahead score of the game, with 5:05 remaining.
The Utah State defense couldn't make one more stop to beat the highest-ranked team in school history, surpassing the victory over No. 18 BYU in 2014.
Utah State did have one more chance to send the game to overtime – or possibly pull off the upset – but Joe Bachie tipped and intercepted a pass at midfield with 1:15 remaining.
Michigan State's Brian Lewerke was 23 of 33 for 287 yards with two TDs, an interception and a fumble.
Jordan Love completed 29 of 44 passes for 319 yards with two interceptions.
Heyward scored on a 13-yard run in the fourth quarter and a 17-yard run in the third. He is the son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, an NFL running back from 1988 to 1998. The sophomore ran for 436 yards and did not score last season.
SYRACUSE 55, WESTERN MICHIGAN 42: In Kalamazoo, Michigan, senior quarterback Eric Dungey rushed for 200 yards and passed for 184, to lead the Orange in the season opener.
Dungey connected with Jamal Custis six times for 168 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs for the senior wide receiver.
Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink was 19-of-36 passing for 379 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wassink threw two touchdowns to D'Wayne Eskridge, including an 84-yard score to make it 34-21 with 7:32 left in the third quarter.
Eskridge, a Bluffton graduate, caught eight passes for 248 yards.