Spartans dominate first half against sinking Illini

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Well, it's safe to say Juice Williams wasn't the problem for Illinois.

Williams is on the bench today after losing his starting spot to Eddie McGee, but he's watching an offense that continues to sputter. The Illini generated no points, three first downs and just 60 total yards in the first half against Michigan State, which leads 17-0 at Memorial Stadium. McGee is just 2-of-6 passing on the day, but the problems on offense obviously go much deeper here. Illinois can't generate a run game, and coordinator Mike Schultz still hasn't found a way to exploit the team's wide receivers down the field.

Michigan State, meanwhile, appears to be turning its season around. Playing without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has an ankle injury, the Spartans have stormed ahead behind young running backs Larry Caper and Glenn Winston. Both backs have 64 rush yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Keith Nichol overcame a bit of a slow start to complete 9 of 14 passes for 132 yards.

MSU has outgained Illinois 281-60 and held the ball for 21:28.

The Spartans could be ahead by much more right now. Illinois needs to wake up in the second half. Zook and the Illini can't afford another noncompetitive loss.