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Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke proved he was the only quarterback who mattered in convincing victory

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 28, 2017, 10:14 p.m.

Michigan State Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke (14) runs for a first down against Washington State Cougars linebacker Jahad Woods (13) during the first half of the 2017 Holiday Bowl Thursday, December 28, 2017, at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, Calif. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Michigan State Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke (14) runs for a first down against Washington State Cougars linebacker Jahad Woods (13) during the first half of the 2017 Holiday Bowl Thursday, December 28, 2017, at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, Calif. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

SAN DIEGO – Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke was more than the “other quarterback” in Thursday’s Holiday Bowl.

As it turned out, he was the only one who mattered.

With Washington State’s Luke Falk injured and backup Tyler Hilinski ineffective, it was left to the MSU sophomore to dictate the terms of a 42-17 win over Washington State.

Following a season of hot-and-cold performances and with a passer rating that ranked 105th in FBS, Lewerke was the wild card coming into the game.

No one was quite sure what to expect from Lewerke, and that included the Cougars, who were kept Cougars off-balance all night, first with his legs and then his arm.

Missing on his first four passes, he still managed 33 yards on the ground in the first quarter. As WSU’s defense focused on the run, Lewerke found open receivers on the sidelines.

“Their quarterback did a really good job of keeping us honest, and he did a good job of converting third down,” WSU coach Mike Leach said.

By halftime, the Spartans led 21-3 as Lewerke completed 10 of his next 11 passes for 163 yards. He also ran for 59.

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