Opponent: Maryland Terrapins
Date: Nov. 14, 2014
Location: Maryland Stadium - College Park, Maryland
Final Score: 37-15, Michigan State
All-time Matchup Record: Michigan State leads 9-2
Michigan State stumbled for the first time this season against Purdue and now have an uphill battle in competing for a conference title, yet, the Spartans still control their own destiny.
In the season’s second College Football Playoff rankings, the Spartans dipped to No. 7 and the committee seems to favor...some other factors (unsure of what) in placing an 8-1 Michigan team at No. 6 — despite just losing in East Lansing less than two weeks ago. Despite the ranking inconsistencies, the Big Ten East gauntlet will shake itself over the next month as massive games are still to be played.
The Spartans had to play their best football in November and that got off to a rough start in West Lafayette last weekend. Holes were exposed on defense and all too often were the Boilermakers making things look easy on pressure downs. The entire nation was calling on it to be a trap game and with looking at how the teams’ strengths and weaknesses stacked up against each other, it was pretty obvious. Michigan State hadn’t played a passing attack like that since Western Kentucky in Week Five, where the Spartans’ defensive inefficiencies were blanketed that game by a stellar offensive and special teams performances.
Luckily for Michigan State it will have a chance to get some much needed momentum this upcoming weekend against Maryland before heading to Columbus to take on Ohio State in a game that could decide the Big Ten East crown. What's not so lucky, is that Maryland presents some of the same issues that were exposed by the Boilermakers and it’s up to Tucker and his group to plug the holes. In this week’s “Spartan Football Playback,” we head back to 2014 and a big win for MSU in College Park.
In the limited history between these schools, Michigan State has generally taken care of business — winning nine of 11 overall and three games straight. In 2014, the Spartans were coming off a disheartening loss to Ohio State in East Lansing and had much to prove.
The Terrapins were outclassed in almost every facet of the game, as they were unable to find ways to run the ball or defend it. Maryland only gained six yards rushing and quarterback C.J. Brown was sacked three times. On the other side, Jeremey Langford rushed for 138 yards and scored two touchdowns. A score by Nick Hill with 3:15 to go enabled Michigan State to set a school record for points in a season (438) with two games still left to be played.
Langford extended his streak of consecutive 100-yard games against Big Ten opponents to 14, although 68 of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Michigan State won by a final score of 37-15.
There actually seems to be some parallels between the 2014 team and the current one, as both struggled against pass heavy schemes and relied very much on their own offense to steady the ship. We can only hope the Spartans can bounce back from an ugly loss the same way they did in this game.