Concerns at quarterback are still lurking, after shaky performances in a 26-13 victory over Western Michigan on August 30.
Andrew Maxwell started the game hot, as he completed his first five passing attempts on the Spartans first drive of the game. However, the drive stalled in Broncos’ territory, and the following two drives for Maxwell and the Spartan offense ended quickly.
Looking for a boost offensively, Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio replaced Maxwell with sophomore Connor Cook with one minute remaining in the first quarter. Cook’s inability to move the offense warranted Dantonio’s decision to run a quarterback by committee throughout the remainder of the game.
The defense put the Spartans (1-0) in good field position most of the night, but the offense was unable to capitalize, only managing one touchdown.
Safety Jairus Jones had two interceptions, the first of which was lateraled to Kurtis Drummond in a 21-yard touchdown return for the Spartans’ first score of the night.
Midway through the second quarter, the Broncos (0-1) tied it up when freshman quarterback Zach Terrell came into the game for the injured Tyler Van Tubbergen, and hit Clark Mussman for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Michigan State’s lone offensive touchdown came from Jeremy Langford on a two-yard run with 22 seconds remaining in the half. Langford was the only standout for the offense, finishing with 94 yards on 20 carries.
Langford’s go-ahead touchdown run was followed by two field goals by Kevin Muma in the third quarter. Shilique Calhoun scored another touchdown for the defense on a 16-yard fumble recovery with 9:02 left to play.
The Spartan defense was expected to be disruptive this season and they didn’t disappoint, finishing with five sacks, one forced fumble and three interceptions.
The quarterback situation was uncertain throughout the offseason, and after a poor performance against a Mid-American Conference opponent, look for them to continue their quarterback shuffle. Maxwell went 11 of 21 for 74 yards, while Cook completed 6 of his 16 passes for 42 yards and added 35 rushing yards. Together, they completed just 45 percent of their passes for a meager 116 yards.
Maxwell, a fifth-year senior, was named the starter three days before the season opener, although Dantonio said that Cook would play as well. Neither quarterback seemed to make a strong case for themselves to be the full-time starter.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Dantonio would not say whether Maxwell would start MSU’s second game against South Florida, or if there would be a change.
Derek Grantham is a football reporter for Impact Sports
Photo: David Defever