After a deflating loss to the No. 8 Washington Huskies last Saturday, Michigan State football started off the Big Ten year with a 31-9 loss to the Maryland Terrapins in their fourth straight home game to start the season.
After Maryland deferred the coin toss, the Spartans started their first drive out with a couple of first downs before redshirt junior quarterback Noah Kim hesitated on a throw over the middle that ended up being intercepted by Terrapin senior defensive back Beau Brade.
On the ensuing drive that started at midfield, Maryland struck quickly, getting on the scoreboard first with a one-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Sean Greely.
MSU found success moving the ball down the field on their second drive but redshirt sophomore running back Nathan Carter got stuffed at the goal line on fourth down for a turnover.
The Terrapins would start their next drive at the five-yard line, but a roughing the passer call on Spartan redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Tunmise Adeleye inside Maryland’s 15 would kick their 95-yard drive into gear, gashing MSU with both the run and the pass. The march capped off with a 12-yard touchdown to graduate wide receiver Tyrese Chambers for a 14-0 lead.
MSU gave the ball right back as Carter coughed up his first fumble of the game at the green and white 31-yard line. Maryland took advantage of the great field position as redshirt senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa snuck in a one-yard rush to extend the Terrapin lead to three touchdowns halfway through the second quarter.
The Spartans finally got on the board with less than four minutes left in the first half as redshirt senior kicker Johnathan Kim nailed a 37-yard boot to cut the lead to 18.
Michigan State’s defense forced Maryland’s first punt of the game as time wound down in the first 30 minutes, but a couple of drops in scoring territory and a blocked field goal as time expired ruined the Spartans chances to continue to cut into the Terrapin lead in the first half.
The Spartan pass defense started off the second half strong, forcing three straight incompletions, but would be fooled by a fake punt as senior Colton Spangler ran 14 yards for a first down. A 38-yard deep shot to junior wide receiver Tai Felton put Maryland in field goal range on the same drive but redshirt sophomore kicker Jack Howes’s kick went wide left from 40 yards to keep the score 21-3.
Noah Kim started out the Spartans first second half drive throwing his second interception of the day that ended up in the hands of redshirt junior defensive back Glendon Miller after a 15-yard Carter run up the middle.
Maryland once again took the ball into MSU’s red zone, but senior defensive back Angelo Grose made an acrobatic interception in the back of the end zone to keep the Terrapin’s scoreless on their second drive of the second half.
Noah Kim put together his best drive of the game as the third quarter progressed, highlighted by a 33-yard completion to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jaron Glover and a nine-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Tyrell Henry for his second touchdown of the season. The two point conversion failed though as redshirt junior wide receiver Christian Fitzpatrick could not bring a jump down with a defender draped on him. The score still put the Spartans within two touchdowns with less than four minutes left in the third period.
Michigan State’s defense continued their strong second half into the fourth quarter, forcing two punts with a three and out, keeping the game within reach.
MSU’s offense did not do their defense any favors after a Kim fumble near their own end zone and a shank kick by graduate punter Michael O'Shaughnessy that landed at the 32. Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton’s unit held though, forcing Maryland to send out Howes for a 48-yard attempt that made it through the uprights to give the Terrapins a 24-9 lead with 11 minutes left in the final quarter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser trotted out in place of Kim with just about 11 minutes to go in the game. The underclassman made a couple of nice throws to move the ball down the field and into the red zone, but ultimately overthrew a screen pass to Carter that got intercepted and taken to the 19-yard line by Terrapin senior defensive back Naheeb Still.
Maryland tacked on another touchdown to seal the result as sophomore wide receiver Octavian Smith Jr. took a screen pass 31 yards to the house to increase Maryland’s lead to 22.
Senior wide receiver Alante Brown then fumbled the punt return on MSU’s 21, marking the Spartan’s fifth turnover of the afternoon.
Howes went on to miss his second field goal attempt of the game from 29 yards out with 1:30 remaining.
Freshman quarterback Sam Leavitt got to see his first action of the season in the final minute, completing a couple of passes and running for a few yards as time expired.