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Michigan State falls 27-13 at Maryland, loses third-straight game

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 01 Michigan State at Maryland Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was the same old story as Michigan State gave up 489 total yards to Maryland. That included 314 passing yards by Taulia Tagovailoa, the quarterback Terrapins, who picked apart the Spartan defense in a 27-13 win over Michigan State. While the defense played better in the second half, the offense sputtered after a fairly strong start.

Maryland won the toss and chose to receive the football to start the game. The Spartans’ defensive struggles continued as Maryland marched 78 yards down the field in 11 plays. The Terrapins' scoring drive was capped off with a 15-yard rushing touchdown by running back Antwain Littleton II to go up 7-0. It was the third-straight game in which the Spartans gave up an opening drive score.

Michigan State responded right away. Quarterback Payton Thorne completed all five of his passes on the Spartans’ opening drive. Running back Elijah Collins had two carries for 20 yards. Collins capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

Maryland kept its offense rolling. Tagovailoa had a huge 44-yard pass to tight end Corey Dyches. Maryland scored a few plays later with a Colby McDonald touchdown rush. The Terrapins retook the lead with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter, 14-7.

On the next Spartan possession, the offense stalled after a holding penalty was called on center Nick Samac. After two drives, thanks in part to a three-yard loss by running back Jalen Berger, Michigan State had 16 rushing yards on four carries (four yards per carry). The Spartans were forced to give the ball back to the Terrapins.

Michigan State’s defense bounced back, forcing a three-and-out. This was the first time that the Spartans forced a punt since the Washington game.

The Michigan State offense was unable to capitalize on the defensive stop. Running back Jarek Broussard did get two touches for 12 yards on the ground, but the drive stalled out in the red zone. Ben Patton missed his first field goal attempt as a Spartan from 33 yards out to keep the score at 14-7.

Michigan State then forced a three-and-out for the second consecutive drive. Defensive tackle Maverick Hansen had a big tackle on third-and-short to force the punt.

Thorne completed six out of seven pass attempts on the Spartans’ next drive. MSU mixed in a flea flicker, which was under-thrown to wide receiver Keon Coleman by Thorne, but pass interference was called. The drive was capped off by a pass from Thorne to wide receiver Jayden Reed on and over-the-shoulder touchdown reception. The extra point failed after long snapper Hank Pepper botched the snap to keep Maryland in front 14-13.

Maryland’s offense got the ball back and marched right down the field. Tagovailoa completed 10 of his 12 passes on that drive, which included a five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, which extended the Terrapins’ lead to 21-13.

On the first play of Michigan State’s next drive, Thorne overthrew Reed and was picked off by Dante Trader Jr., who took it to the end zone. However, Corey Coley Jr. was flagged for a questionable personal foul call, which called the play back and returned the ball to Michigan State.

The Spartans drove down the field and attempted a 45-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Jack Stone’s kick was blocked to keep the score at 21-13 at halftime.

The halftime stats were relatively even. Maryland had 258 total yards and Michigan State had 246 total yards. The Spartans had 16 first downs to Maryland’s 14.

Michigan State got the ball to open the second half. The Spartans went backwards five yards and were forced to punt.

Maryland opened the second half with a solid drive. The biggest play came when Tagovailoa found Littleton for an 18-yard gain. The Terrapins were forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal, which was made by Chad Ryland.

The Spartans followed that up with a quick four-play drive. Jalen Berger had a 14-yard rush. Then, the drive stalled out and Michigan State was forced to punt.

The Terrapins got the ball back and put together a solid drive that included a fourth down conversion from the MSU 47-yard line. The Spartans forced a 50-yard field goal attempt from Ryland, which was missed — his first miss of the year.

Thorne immediately went to the air and was almost picked off to open the Michigan State possession. Maryland forced a three-and-out to end the third quarter.

Littleton then had a big 68-yard rush to set up Maryland at MSU’s 2-yard line. The Spartan defense held Maryland at the goal line for four-straight plays, however, to force a turnover on downs.

Michigan State took over at the 1-yard line, but couldn’t move the chains. Maryland forced a punt and was set up with great field position.

The Terrapins got one first down before their drive stalled out. Ryland nailed a 51-yard field goal to make the game 27-13 with 8:00 to play.

Michigan State needed points on its next drive. The Spartans gained 56 yards in 14 plays. They were halted inside the red zone, though. Thorne scrambled on fourth-and-10, but couldn’t get anywhere near the first down marker.

Maryland took over and milked the clock all the way down to under 30 seconds to seal the game. The Terrapins won by the final score of 27-13.

The stat sheet told the same story as the game. Maryland had 489 total yards compared to 321 by Michigan State. The Spartans did get 100 rushing yards. Another key stat in this game was that the Spartans didn’t force any turnovers on defense.

Collins was the leading rusher for Michigan State. He ran for 36 yards and one touchdown on five carries. Thorne threw for 221 yards and has one touchdown. Reed led the team in receiving after a seven-catch, 61-yard and one-touchdown performance.

Michigan State has lost three straight games. It is the first three-game losing streak for MSU since 2019. The Spartans are now 2-3 on the season, while Maryland improved to 4-1.

Michigan State will look to rebound against the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC.