MSU football leads South Florida 7-6 at halftime
Same story, different day.
A week after a standout defensive effort trumped a listless offensive showing in a 26-13 victory over Western Michigan, the storyline remains much the same this week for the MSU football team, as it heads into halftime leading South Florida, 7-6.
Weather conditions even gave the game a similar feel to last week’s win against the Broncos. With inclement weather in the forecast, fans again were asked to evacuate Spartan Stadium, delaying the noon kickoff for 67 minutes.
After the weather cleared, sophomore Connor Cook was given the start at quarterback for the Spartans, which was met with a rousing cheer from the student section when it was announced during pregame introductions.
But despite the hype, Cook didn’t have much better luck than the previous week’s starter, senior Andrew Maxwell.
Cook was 5-of-9 passing for a total of 12 yards in the first half and was replaced for much of the half by redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor after Cook fumbled on a 7-yard sack by USF defensive end Julius Forte, which quickly was recovered by defensive end Todd Chandler.
MSU’s most explosive offensive play of the half came on the second drive of the second quarter, where MSU picked up 21 yards on a double-reverse run by sophomore wide receiver Aaron Burbridge to set the team up in the redzone.
An 8-yard gain on a jet sweep by freshman wide receiver R.J. Shelton put the Spartans within USF’s 5-yard line. However, MSU couldn’t capitalize on the field position and senior kicker Kevin Muma missed a 25-yard field goal attempt to keep the game scoreless.
With the Bulls setting up the next drive on their own 20-yard drive moments later, USF quarterback Bobby Eveld fumbled on a sack by senior defensive tackle Tyler Hoover and picked up by sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun who ran the ball in for MSU’s first touchdown of the day.
Calhoun now has scored for the second week in a row and led the way for the third defensive touchdown by the defensive unit during the team’s first two games.
Wearing the MSU defense down on the ensuing drive, USF kicker Marvin Kloss capped a lengthy possession with a 49-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game.
With less than a minute to play, a punt by USF punter Mattie Ciabatti was fumbled by sophomore wide receiver Andre Sims Jr. and recovered by USF linebacker Hans Louis on MSU’s 23-yard line.
The Bulls threatened close to the goal line but couldn’t punch it in, leading to a 21-yard field goal by Kloss to make it a one-point game heading into halftime.
After deferring possession in the first half, the Spartans will open the second half with the ball.