Thursday, February 2, 2023

FINAL: Michigan State drops third straight with 27-13 loss to Maryland

October 1, 2022
<p>Michigan State&#x27;s junior running back Kenneth Walker III (9) is tackled by Maryland&#x27;s senior defensive back Jordan Mosley (18) on Nov. 13, 2021.</p>

Michigan State's junior running back Kenneth Walker III (9) is tackled by Maryland's senior defensive back Jordan Mosley (18) on Nov. 13, 2021.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Struggling in all three phases, Michigan State looked completely out of sorts in a 27-13 loss to Maryland.

The Spartans certainly had some good moments. A goal line stand at the beginning of the third quarter and a couple of efficient drives from the offense provided glimpses of hope. However, the team failed to generate any sort of momentum following positive plays. It seemed as though every good play was matched with at least one misstep.

For the third week straight week in a row, Michigan State's defense made the opposing quarterback look like an All-American. Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 314 yards and a touchdown in the afternoon.

The struggles on third down also reappeared on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Spartans were a tad better than they were last week, but they still allowed Maryland to convert eight of 17 attempts (the defense also gave up a couple of fourth downs). Offensively, Michigan State completed seven of 14 third down attempts, with multiple three-and-outs.

After a solid first half, redshirt junior quarterback Payton Thorne went completely silent in the second half. Racking up 180 passing yards and a touchdown in the first 30 minutes, he finished with just 221 yards, completing 26 of 42 attempts.

The first half was extremely sloppy for Michigan State. While yards and time of possession were relatively equal for the two teams, a handful of miscues from MSU played a large part in Maryland’s 21-13 lead. Holding penalties on the offensive line stalled out two separate drives and the special teams botched an extra point attempt and missed two field goals, leaving seven points off the board.

A drive near the beginning of second quarter really encapsulated Michigan State’s self-inflicted wounds. The offense seemed to be clicking — Thorne continued to impress and Broussard had a pair of nice runs to march up to the red zone. However, on second and short, a holding call backed up the offense ten yards. Thorne and Co. couldn't regain the lost yardage and settled for a field goal attempt. Junior kicker Ben Patton missed it wide right. 

While the first half wasn’t pretty, it could’ve been much worse for Michigan State. With under a minute left in the second quarter, Thorne threw a pick-six. Luckily for the Spartans, a personal foul penalty wiped the play off the board. 

Unsurprisingly, Maryland found the end zone on its first drive of the afternoon. Michigan State’s situational struggles continued as the defense gave up a pair of third down conversions and a fourth down attempt in the red zone. Tagovailoa had plenty of time in the pocket.

Michigan State responded with a bruising drive of its own. Thorne went 5-for-5 for 58 yards, marching the Spartans to the red zone. Redshirt senior Elijah Collins punched it in to knot up the game 7-7. 

Maryland answered back immediately, scoring on the ensuing drive. Tagovailoa had all sorts of time in the pocket, shredding the struggling MSU secondary.

After a pair of rare three-and-outs forced by Michigan State’s defense, Thorne led a fantastic drive in an attempt to tie things up. He capped off the 85-yard drive with a touchdown pass to Jayden Reed on a fade route.

However, the ensuing extra point was botched and Maryland held onto a 14-13 lead. Again, Michigan State shot itself in the foot just as it seemed to gather some momentum. 

Maryland ran a textbook two-minute offensive drill at the end of the first half. Tagovailoa patiently picked apart a conservative MSU defense and extended the lead to 21-13.

After a somewhat hot start, Michigan State’s offense went ice-cold in the second half. With a few three-and-outs, MSU finished with just eight total yards in the third quarter. The unit found a bit of life in the latter half of the fourth quarter, moving 65 yards down the field on its second drive of the quarter. Following a few overthrows, Thorne tried to pick up the first down with his legs on fourth-and-ten, but he was well short of the line to gain and the offense turned over on downs.

While Maryland's offense wasn't quite as efficient in the second half, a pair of field goals gave the Terrapins plenty of breathing room.

Michigan State returns home next weekend to face No. 3 Ohio State, who beat Rutgers 49-10 Saturday evening.

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