Spartans Suffer First Loss, Could Not Get Out Of Their Own Way
Maybe this is what happens when you draw conclusions from playing two MAC schools but shades of 2016 reared their ugly head as Michigan State fell to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday 38-18.
In the first half, Michigan State shot themselves in the foot with three turnovers and Notre Dame capitalized with 21 points off of those turnovers. It was a deep hole the Spartans dug for themselves and couldn't get out of, an it's turning into a theme this season.
Through three games, the Spartans are -6 in turnover margin. This same program led the Big Ten in that stat multiple times this decade.
While Michigan State took care of the ball in the second half (0 turnovers) the damage had already been done. Michigan State outgained Notre Dame in this game 496-355 and Brian Lewerke led a passing attack that gained 245 yards through the air in the second half. However, Notre Dame's defense was up to the task only surrendering 11 second half points, eight of those points came on a garbage time touchdown throw from Brian Lewerke to Gerald Holmes.
Offensive coordinator Dave Warner said after the game ball security was the biggest emphasis in the bye week and that "clearly what we were doing isn't working"
MSU had an undisciplined day with nine penalties for 97 yards including multiple late hits and roughing penalties. Symptoms of a very frustrating day for Michigan State.
Lewerke's day finished at 31-51 for 340 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. 12 different receivers caught a pass in this game. LJ Scott led the Spartans in rushing with a line of 11 carries for 61 yards. He also lost a fumble on the goal line his third fumble lost on the season and his second on the goal line.
Looking at Notre Dame's stat leaders, even though they gained 355 yards in the game, their leading rusher tallied only 56 yards. Their quarterback, Brandon Wimbush threw for less than 175 yards when all was said and done. Nobody set the world on fire for the Irish. This entire loss was a giant self inflicted wound between penalties and turnovers and they both need to be cleaned up quick. The tuneups are over, conference play begins next week with Iowa coming into East Lansing.