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Back to the drawing board for Michigan State offense

Michigan State v Notre Dame Getty Images

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Michigan State Spartans in South Bend. Multiple pass interference penalties helped keep drives alive for Notre Dame and the lone turnover of the game was cashed in by the Irish for a game-winning touchdown. Notre Dame picked up their second straight win against a Big Ten opponent, winning Saturday by a score of 17-13.

As expected heading in to the game, the defenses for both teams led the way against offenses lacking much punch early on this season. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees completed just 14-of-34 pass attempts for 142 yards and a late first half touchdown. The running game also struggled mightily against the Spartans, with just 73 yards on the ground. Michigan State’s offense was worse, with all three quarterback options getting some playing time. Connor Cook got the start for the Spartans and completed half of his passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. R.J. Shelton came in and threw one pass, but it was intercepted at the Notre Dame 19-yard line by Matthias Farley. Farley’s pick set up Notre Dame to score a touchdown five plays later when Cam McDaniel rushing seven yards for the score. With the game on the line, Mark Dantonio called on his fifth-year senior Andrew Maxwell to come off the sideline and lead a game-winning drive. Maxwell went 0-for-3 and ran out of bounds on a 4th and 20 play to turnover the football on downs.

If we learned one thing from this game, it is that the Spartans still have some serious concerns about their offense, starting at quarterback. Could we see Damion Terry once again get some reps in practice and maybe even a shot to lead this offense?

Notre Dame has a big stretch of games coming up in the next few weeks. Oklahoma visits Notre Dame Stadium next Saturday and Arizona State meets the Irish in Arlington the following week. Neither of those teams have the same questions about their quarterbacks or their offense, so Notre Dame will be tested.

This game marked the first time since 2001 that neither team managed to score at least 20 points in a game. Michigan State won that game, 17-10 in South Bend.

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20 Responses to “Back to the drawing board for Michigan State offense”
  1. joerevs300 says: Sep 21, 2013 7:20 PM

    Nice to see the officials are the true “luck of the Irish” when ND is at home.

    Pittsburgh, Stanford and now Michigan State. Two of those PI calls and one of the holding calls were very borderline if not non-existent in the first place.

    I’m not saying Michigan State’s offense isn’t culpable here…far from it.

    But it’s more than a little coincidence that they ALWAYS get the calls that go their way. It’s almost as if CFB wants them to be as relevant as possible when they have a chance to be, at all costs.

    Hopefully OU and ASU will thump them so they can forget about a BCS game and maybe join a Super 5 conference, while they are at it.

  2. txspartan95 says: Sep 21, 2013 7:22 PM

    Your early statement should have read, “Multiple PHANTOM pass interference penalties helped keep drives alive for Notre Dame ……….”

    Regardless, even with all of the biased calls, MSU lost the game for the same reason we lost so many last year – Our QB play is terrible. Actually, that is not nearly a harsh enough assessment – It is horrendous, ridiculous, embarrassing, or worse.

  3. indi0228 says: Sep 21, 2013 7:41 PM

    The officials were beyond pathetic. Only one of the PI calls was legit. They handed the game to ND. Delaney, both you and your officials are a joke!

  4. primetime0552 says: Sep 21, 2013 8:11 PM

    The writer of this article obviously didn’t watch the game and has no clue of Michigan States offense(what little there is). R.J Shelton is not one of MSU options at QB, he is a RB/WR. The interception he threw was on a reverse pass. Actually watch the game and know the teams if you’re going to write an article about it. I know this comment will probably be deleted….

  5. jgater1981 says: Sep 21, 2013 8:26 PM

    Wow. I’m a ND fan so I’m a bit biased, but every one of those PI calls were legit. They even missed an obvious one in the 1st quarter. MSU played physical and paid for it. Did I watch a different game, or are you people pissed off MSU’s corners were burned by way better ND wide receivers. ND is stacked at the position but doesn’t have a QB to get the ball to them. Sorry your team stinks worse than ND (who is not very good right now).

  6. txspartan95 says: Sep 21, 2013 8:41 PM

    jgater1981 did you even listen to the biased ND commentators who agreed that the majority of the PI calls were garbage? These are your commentators as a ND homer.

  7. oldschool48 says: Sep 21, 2013 8:46 PM

    IMO, replay showed all but one PI calls were correct. Both teams have big flaws that if not fixed, will play out over remaining games.

  8. jgater1981 says: Sep 21, 2013 9:04 PM

    @Sparty, it looks like I’m the first ND fan to comment, so I didn’t “listen” to these fake ND fans you’re talking about. NOt only that, but the refs f’d ND in the 1st quarter, and missed a hold on every MSU run (terrible line that could do nothing BUT hold). Get over it. Your team stinks.

  9. jgater1981 says: Sep 21, 2013 9:09 PM

    If you’re talking about Mayock, the guy isn’t allowed to be biased. If nothing else, he was pro-MSU the entire game. Did you JUST start watching football? I get it. You’re 16 and new to the game. You’ll understand how it works eventually.

  10. irishdodger says: Sep 21, 2013 9:39 PM

    As an ND fan, I can agree with Oldschool in that only one of those were no brainer pass interference. However, as the other ND homer on here correctly noted, the refs missed an obvious PI in the endzone soon after calling a questionable one earlier in the series. Both offenses were anemic at best & both defenses were solid at best. If these two teams don’t improve, they’re both looking at no better than a 6-6 finish.

  11. scootercfa says: Sep 21, 2013 9:45 PM

    LOL Big 10 refs out to screw a Big 10 team? lol ok.

    All but one of those PI’s were legit. The refs also missed several, including the one in the endzone. Fact is, MSU wanted to play man defense. ND challenged them deep, and MSU lost the battle. MSU fans can thank 31 for being pretty awful.

    MSU also benefited from a flag on the ND bench. The ND sideline gets a flag when MSU players are throwing punches?? That was a 30 yard swing that could have cost a team the game.

    Hey MSU fans, you want to know why your team lost the game? Go to the 3rd quarter – your team is moving the ball all over the field again and your OC calls a trick play. INT and game is changed.

  12. jgater1981 says: Sep 21, 2013 9:48 PM

    Also Sparty, “biased calls?” They were YOUR refs! You are horrible! Your team tried to cheat to win and got caught every time. Even your home-cooked refs couldn’t overlook the cheating!

  13. irishdodger says: Sep 21, 2013 9:49 PM

    Oh & let’s not forget these are B1G refs and they screwed up their share of calls vs ND. The Irish got flagged for two personal fouls that were ridiculous. The first was when the MSU player punched the ND player yet ND was flagged b/c his teammates ran on the field to protest. Then Cam McDaniel gets an unsportsmanlike for simply giving the first down sign as he ran off the field. And calling Mayock biased is ridiculous at best. The guy is a BC alum so he’s hardly an ND fan. Anyone who questions Mayock’s credibility is biased themselves. The guy is respected for his analysis in both NCAA & NFL. ND haters cry just as much as ND homers.

  14. jgater1981 says: Sep 21, 2013 10:35 PM

    Scooter and Dodger said it way better than I could. Scooter makes a great point…your team is running all over ND and you try a trick play!? Such horrible play calling! Also, the thug throwing a punch and ND getting flagged (the ref even saw the punch) is ridiculous. Blaming the game on the refs is something someone who only saw the highlights would do (like Sparty, who didn’t see the game).

  15. polegojim says: Sep 22, 2013 12:01 AM

    OH MY MY… that was as pathetic of an attempt at offense that I’ve ever seen in the NCAA.

    Sparty is looking sick sick sick…

    I don’t believe a root canal would be as painful as watching that game again.

    Good think Sparty has a Defense.

  16. cullimon says: Sep 22, 2013 12:19 AM

    I talked to some people who went to the game, even the ND fans thought the PI calls were incorrect. The refs were terrible, when aren’t they though? They’re not “homecooked” however, whoever said that sounds like a child. Ultimately, I don’t believe the refs dictated the game as much as some people would like to believe (jgater1981). In addition, #31 was not the bad cornerback for MSU, it was #15 who was routinely burned by a good WR. The point that is being missed here, by commenters and NBC alike, is the terrible decision by Mark D late in the game. Why would you throw in Maxwell, who lost the starting job, on the final drive of the game when the QB you deemed best is ready to go?? Maxwell is terrible, and wasn’t warmed up at all, plus you destroy Cook’s confidence and show him a lack of trust. Terrible decision making.

  17. jgater1981 says: Sep 22, 2013 1:29 AM

    I never said refs dictated the game. That was Sparty. Sorry BRO. Lord, you’re an idiot. People who saw the gave live saw better than those watching on television? Great job!

  18. taintedlombardis says: Sep 22, 2013 9:41 AM

    Refs handed the game to ND. ND sucks and didn’t belong in the NC last year as everybody witnessed. I wonder how giddy Darth Saban was when he knew he going against the soft Irish?

  19. cfballfan1 says: Sep 23, 2013 1:21 PM

    Spartan offense was bad, point granted.

    The fact that penalties – at least 2, according to ND – homer broadcast crew that were blown calls -led to every single ND score?

    Not bad, not so – called “offsetting othet non – calls” – that was an embarrassment to the game.

  20. tdub821 says: Sep 27, 2013 3:09 PM

    C’mon folks…it’s little brother football…who cares?

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