Michigan State’s losing streak extends to three


Head coach Mel Tucker leads his team out of the tunnel to face Akron. Sept. 10, 2022/Photo credit: LeAnn Espinoza

Liam Jackson, Sports Editor

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Michigan State loses to Maryland 27-13 and extends its losing streak to three games.

The Spartans have gotten accustomed to playing from behind early and often recently. Maryland won the toss and elected to receive and put pressure on the MSU defense right away.

Terrapin quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa led Maryland on a drive that ended in an Antwain Littleton II 15-yard touchdown run. Tagovailoa converted on multiple third and longs when the Spartan defense had chances to get off the field. 

Not to be outdone, Payton Thorne was impressive himself for the Spartans in the first half. Thorne completed 20 of 24 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. 

Elijah Collins leveled the score at seven for MSU by making would-be tacklers miss on a 12-yard touchdown rush. He has earned the respect of his teammates after being buried on the depth chart, but still playing hard.

“I saw him (Collins) working his butt off all offseason,” Thorne said. “Working as hard as he possibly could and pushing himself. That’s why you are seeing him on the field.”

“Elijah is one of the hardest working guys on the team,” receiver Tre Mosley said. “I’m glad to see him finally get another opportunity.”

A high scoring game seemed inevitable after the Collins touchdown. Maryland followed suit on its second drive of the game. Tagovailoa continued to find receivers with no Spartan defenders in the same area code. The Terps scored another rushing touchdown that capped an 85-yard drive spanning only two minutes.

From this point forward, MSU squandered opportunities in a multitude of ways. 

A third and short that was picked up by Jalen Berger was called back due to a hold on Nick Samac on the opposite side of the play. The ensuing third and long was not converted and the Spartans had to punt. 

On the next drive, MSU showed more promise and marched all the way inside the Maryland ten. Spencer Brown committed a holding penalty on the six yard line and the drive stalled. 

Kicking woes hampered the Spartans in the first half. A missed field goal, a blocked field goal and a bad snap on an extra point added up to seven potential points left on the field.

“Every scoring opportunity we need to capitalize on,” head coach Mel Tucker said. “It affects our whole team.”

All that being said, MSU was only down 21-13 at the half and started the second half with possession. 

Michigan State’s offense came to a screeching halt in the second half. MSU mustered only eight yards and one first down in the third quarter. 

“It’s nothing special,” Tucker said. “It’s all about execution. That’s all it is.”

A goal-line stand by the Spartans in the fourth quarter gave Spartan fans in attendance reason to believe for a moment. Drops by Daniel Barker and Berger on consecutive plays ended the drive and ultimately the hopes of any Spartan comeback. 

MSU’s defense gave up only six points in the second half and the goal-line stand was a highlight that unit can take away.

Defensive end Jacoby Windmon said that he told his teammates to keep their heads up and “fight for every blade of grass.” He said it would have been easy to just let them in, but it meant a lot to get a stop in that situation.

The month of October gets no easier for MSU in terms of scheduling. Ohio State and its potent offense travel to East Lansing next Saturday. The Spartans play Wisconsin and Michigan to round out October.

“If you play sports long enough, its gonna be times like this,” Mosley said. “Playing collegiate athletics, you learn to just block it out because there are hard times like this but it gets better.”