Thursday, October 22, 2020

Michigan State kills second half hopes with turnovers

Michigan State football showed flashes of hope to start the second half, but turnovers cost them their momentum

October 26, 2019
<p>Head Coach Mark Dantonio stands on the sideline during the game against Penn State Oct. 26, 2019 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Nittany Lions, 28-7.</p>

Head Coach Mark Dantonio stands on the sideline during the game against Penn State Oct. 26, 2019 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans fell to the Nittany Lions, 28-7.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

By the start of the second half, either the rain or the score had cleared most of the fans and a majority of the student section out of the stadium.

No. 6 Penn State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) was up 28-0 and showed no signs of slowing down.

Michigan State (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) would show some fight through the rain despite the deficit but halted the momentum they started on their own with a turnover-heavy second half.

The Spartans were down by 28 and remained scoreless a few minutes into the second half and didn’t give any indication they were going to make any changes.

That is until senior quarterback Brian Lewerke would connect with junior receiver Cody White for 49 yards through the air to set Michigan State up with a first and goal.

White’s reception seemed to breathe some life into Michigan State, as just two plays later they would punch the ball in with freshman running back Anthony Williams Jr. to score their first points of the game.

A Spartan defense which hadn’t done much to prevent Penn State from having their way followed the touchdown up with an interception by senior safety David Dowell.

But, the Spartans' huge momentum swing would be halted by themselves.

On the first play of the drive following Dowell’s interception, Lewerke would throw an interception of his own.

After a Lewerke interception, the Spartan defense would try to keep things close. They would keep the momentum on the Spartans' side as much as they could, forcing a Penn State punt.

The next drive: Lewerke fumble.

Another defensive stop led to sophomore Rocky Lombardi taking snaps.

The change would be too little and too late. The Spartans wouldn’t make anything out of the drive.

Nor the next. Lombardi’s offense wouldn’t gain a yard, sending senior punter Jake Hartbarger onto the field for his fifth punt of the night.

Following two possessions from Lombardi, Michigan State would put their third quarterback of the night in, redshirt freshman Theo Day.

Day gained a first down, going 2-3 for 12 yards, but the Spartans entered Lewerke back into the game. Lewerke immediately fumbled the ball.

The multiple changes at quarterback left the Spartans out of a groove. After the first switch at quarterback, the Spartans would not see the red zone again.

No 6. Penn State didn’t match their first half point surge, allowing Michigan State to open the door, giving them a chance at a comeback.

Michigan State’s offense couldn’t accent the defense's seven-point second half. The early momentum swing was shut down by themselves.

Coughing up the ball and failing to convert first downs killed their momentum.


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