Mbi Tanyi

Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Distracted Maryland hanging around against Michigan State

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After a tumultuous week centered around the Maryland football program, the Terrapins got back to playing football on Saturday afternoon in front of their home crowd. It did not get off to a great start with the offense opening the game by going three-and-out and then seeing Michigan State work a 12-play drive to score their first touchdown in a first quarter since September 22. The Spartans have yet to put Maryland away with just a 10-3 lead at halftime in College Park.

One play after Michigan State converted a fourth-and-one from the Maryland 20-yard line with Brian Lewerke pushing forward two yards for a first down, Connor Heyward rushed 18 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time Michigan State had scored a first-quarter touchdown since a Week 4 game against Indiana. With Maryland’s offense looking out of sorts on their ensuing possession, Michigan State seized the opportunity to tack on a few more points with a field goal moments later.

Midway through the second quarter, with Maryland moving the football well for the first time all game, Michigan State’s Tyriq Thompson avoided being ejected form the game for a potential targeting penalty. A video replay overturned the call on the field, allowing him to stay in the game after his hit on Maryland quarterback Kasim Hill. Maryland ended that drive with a field goal.

On Michigan State’s following drive, Maryland defensive lineman Mbi Tanyi was ejected for throwing a punch, a 15-yard penalty that came at the end of a 3rd-and-9 play that appeared to show the Spartans pick up the first down anyway, but the penalty added 15 free yards. Fortunately for Maryland, the Spartans drive would stall and end with a punt.

It may have been easy to lose track of things regarding Maryland this season given the off-field headlines, especially over the last week. But both Michigan State and Maryland came into this game with identical 3-2 records in Big Ten play, so the outcome of this game is of some importance for the Big Ten bowl position at the end of the year. Both teams still need one win to become bowl eligible this season as well, and the winner of this game will end the day in at least a tie for third place in the Big Ten East behind Michigan and Ohio State.