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Michigan State beats Northern Colorado 45-7 without recovering coach Mark Dantonio

from the man whose health was still on everyone's mind.

Cousins threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 25 Michigan State had no trouble winning without coach Mark Dantonio on Saturday, 45-7 over Northern Colorado. Dantonio had a mild heart attack shortly after last weekend's win over Notre Dame. He was released from the hospital Tuesday and even visited practice Friday, but offensive coordinator Don Treadwell took over his coaching duties for this game.

"I would like to hear his commentary from the game today," Cousins said. "I'm sure it was a strange perspective, watching the game from home. Hopefully, we didn't make him too nervous."

There weren't many tense moments in this game, and that was just fine with the Spartans after the week they had. Michigan State (4-0) wore the letter D on its helmets and gave its recovering coach little to worry about against the Bears (2-2) of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Dantonio planned to watch the game from home, although even that was a bit uncertain.

"What will be fun for me to hear from his wife Becky: How much did she really allow him to see?" Treadwell said.

Dantonio's return is still uncertain, but his program is entering Big Ten play with high hopes. Michigan State hosts Wisconsin next Saturday and plays at Michigan the following weekend. The Spartans haven't started 5-0 since 1999 under Nick Saban.

"You only get one heart," Cousins said. "He has a wife and two daughters, and that's more important than a football game. When he gets back, he gets back."

Cousins was nearly flawless, going 16 of 20 before coming out before his team's first possession of the fourth quarter. His touchdown passes to Brian Linthicum and Larry Caper helped Michigan State take a 35-0 halftime lead.

Linebacker Greg Jones made the first two interceptions of his career. The All-American's first interception gave the Spartans the ball on the Northern Colorado 5, and Edwin Baker ran it in on the next play to make it 7-0.

Northern Colorado's Dylan Orms had a miserable time trying to keep his team in the game. He finished 6 of 22 for 93 yards with three interceptions before coming out late in the third quarter.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns for the Spartans. His 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter made it 28-0.

"Coach Dantonio loves us a lot," Bell said. "He misses being here and he told us to keep playing the way he wants us to play."

Cousins then found Caper over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown with 57 seconds left in the half. Caper did well to hold onto the ball while absorbing a hit in the end zone.

The Spartans beat Notre Dame 34-31 in overtime last weekend, scoring a touchdown on a fake field goal on the final play. They needed no tricks Saturday, and backup quarterback Andrew Maxwell played extensively. He entered the game briefly toward the end of the first quarter and played the entire fourth.

Northern Colorado spoiled the shutout when Seth Lobato rolled out to his left and found Chris Morris for a 32-yard touchdown early in the fourth to make it 42-7.

The Spartans rushed for 201 yards — they've surpassed 200 every game this season. Their biggest problem was probably penalties. They were called for 11 for 121 yards.

That's an issue for the team to address in the coming days, but on Saturday the Spartans were happy to come through while their coach was resting.

"I talked to him pregame," Treadwell said. "I haven't had my phone on me. I'm sure he may have called. He gave me his blessing to begin the thing and just to relax and keep locked in. It's always good. He just has that reassuring voice."