On Saturday the 2-1 Michigan State Spartans played the 3-0 Maryland Terrapins in East Lansing. Maryland entered the game undefeated and Michigan State was coming off a crushing 41-7 loss to the Washington Huskies. Michigan State was looking to get the bad taste out of their mouth and quarterback Noah Kim was looking to prove himself to the Spartan fans after a game of poor reads and decisions vs Washington. Both teams were looking to get their first conference win as Big Ten play begun, Michigan State ended up handing themselves a 31-9 loss as they turned the ball over 5 times and killed all momentum they had. This game was way closer than the final score showed as MSU had multiple chances to get into the game and to start a comeback but the poor decisions and the costly turnovers cost Michigan State in the end.
The Spartan offense started the game getting the ball to start the half and they were moving the ball well, in just their first 6 plays they drove 27 yards, on a first and ten Noah Kim dropped back scanned the field and threw it into the hands of the Terps defender giving Maryland the ball in excellent field position. It didn’t take long for the Terrapins to get on the board as Taulia Tagovailoa found Tai Felton for a Maryland score to put them on top 7-0. Michigan State got the ball back determined to score and even the game up, they drove 68 yards down the field before getting stood up at the goal line leading to a 4th and Goal at the 1, the Spartans called a hand off to running back Nathan Carter who tried to cut to the outside, he quickly got stopped for a loss of 4 giving Maryland the ball and keeping MSU off the board. The Terrapin offense would then go 95 yards on the Spartan defense and score another touchdown as Taulia found Tyrese Chambers for a 12 yard score, MSU was now down 14-0 and had turned the ball over on the first two drives. Michigan State would try to establish the run, on 2nd and 4 Nathan Carter got the call and ran up the middle, he got met at the line and fumbled the ball right to a Maryland defender giving them the ball at the Spartan 32. After a run that didn’t go anywhere Taulia threw a 22 yard strike getting them down to the MSU 4 where he would take it in himself putting them up 21-0. On the next drive Michigan State stayed confident in the run game handing it off to Nathan Carter 5 times for 31 yards, that and a couple of completions put MSU in field goal range where Jonathan Kim would drill a 37 yard attempt putting Sparty down 18 with 3:39 left in the half. The Michigan State defense would force a punt getting the ball back to the offense with 1:30 left in the half. Michigan State would go 45 yards in that time before sending Kim on to try a 46 yard field goal, the kick got blocked and the Spartans went into half down 21-3. Maryland would receive the ball coming out of half and on 4th and 10 they would run a fake punt that fooled everyone on the field, after the offense stalled out Maryland would attempt the 40 yarder but it would go wide keeping the score 21-3 and giving the Spartans the ball. After a 15 yard rush Noah Kim would drop back and throw another interception at a crucial time for MSU, giving the Terps offense the ball. Luckily for MSU after Taulia drove down the field, on 3rd and Goal he would fire to the endzone where Angelo Grose would pick him off, preventing a score and keeping Michigan State in the game. After an 8 play drive Noah Kim would drop back and fire to the right corner of the endzone to Tyrell Henry who caught the ball on the move giving MSU a much needed touchdown. On the 2 point attempt the pass fell incomplete making the score 21-9, these would be the last points scored by the Spartans despite numerous chances. After 4 drives of offenses being held to punts Maryland would score a field goal making it 24-9. Noah Kim would go down with an injury leading to red shirt freshman QB Katin Houser being put in the game, he would throw a couple completions, leading MSU down to the goal line where Katin would overthrow his receiver and the ball would be intercepted, Maryland would go down the field scoring one more touchdown putting the game away 31-9.
Michigan State had every opportunity to get into this game, they out gained Maryland in yards and time of possession but the 5 turnovers ultimately put this game to bed. Interm Head Coach Harlon Barnett stated after the loss that Noah Kim will remain the starting quarterback going into the game against Iowa. Many Michigan State fans have been calling for Noah Kim to be benched after back to back poor performances where his decision making cost the Spartans. Through 4 games Noah Kim has thrown for 897 yards 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, while having a QBR of 39.9 which is 107th in the nation. Nathan Carter had 19 carries for 97 yards and a fumble, we’ve seen that when Nathan Carter gets to the second level he’s a very difficult back to stop. Carters fumble was an unfortunate mistake in a game full of unfortunate mistakes that added up for the Spartans, I think that next week if MSU can establish the run game and be smarter with the football they may have a chance. The wide receivers weren’t perfect either, on multiple plays the ball find its way into the receivers hands and then it would hit the ground, Michigan State had multiple chances to score or extend the drive, those chances were wasted by costly drops from the receiving room.
The Michigan State defense yet again couldn’t stop the pass as Tagovailoa threw for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns, the emphasis going forward has to be stopping the pass, every single game the MSU secondary gets torched and prevents the defense from getting off the field. The defense did stop Maryland from scoring on a number of occasions with their backs against the wall, the defense was able to force 4th downs on possessions where the Terps had amazing starting field position. Next week in Iowa the defense has to show up if we want any chances at winning.
Next week the 2-2 Michigan State Spartans hit the road to take on the 3-1 Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa, this game won’t be easy by any means as Iowa is coming off a 31-0 shut out loss to Penn State and will likely be looking to redeem themselves against the Spartans. Michigan State will have to play near perfect to stand a chance as Iowa has an amazing defense and an offense led by former Michigan QB Cade McNamara that can’t be taken lightly. Next week is a must win game for both teams, MSU is trying to avoid a losing record and Iowa will be looking to avoid dropping 2 straight, Iowa enters the game as -11 point favorites.