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Explosive offense leads Michigan State Spartans football team to 40-21 win at Maryland

Maryland wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, right, is chased by Michigan State defensive end Drew Jordan on Saturday in East Lansing. (AP photo)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

EAST LANSING — Payton Thorne, Jayden Reed, and Kenneth Walker combined to put together another explosive performance.

Next week, the trio will need to be even better and their teammates on defense will have to be at their best.

Thorne threw two of his four touchdown passes to Reed, and Walker ran for 143 yards and two scores to help No. 8 Michigan State bounce back from its first loss with a 40-21 victory over Maryland on Saturday.

The Spartans (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, No. 7 CFP ) stayed in the Big Ten championship race. If Mel Tucker’s team can upset No. 6 Ohio State on the road Saturday and beat No. 23 Penn State at home the following week, it will be in the conference’s championship game in Indianapolis with an opportunity to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.

“We know who we’re playing and we know where we going,” Thorne said. “In order to get to Indy, you have to go through Columbus and we know that. It’s going to be a huge game for our side of the conference.”

Thorne was 22 of 31 for 287 yards with a 51-yard touchdown pass to Montorie Foster and a 29-yard pass to Jayden reed for a score in the first quarter.

Walker ran for a 1-yard score to put the Spartans ahead 27-7 late in the first half. He aggravated an ankle injury at least once during the game, but the ailment wasn’t enough to keep him out of the game.

Maryland wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, right, is chased by Michigan State defensive end Drew Jordan on Saturday in East Lansing. (AP photo)