Michigan State’s offense never had an answer. Let’s be clear that Notre Dame boasts a good defensive unit, one that deserves plenty of credit for its performance during the Fighting Irish’s 20-3 win Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
But the Spartans’ offense never even looked serviceable during a critical Big Ten tune-up. Now, they have two weeks to regroup before Ohio State comes to town in a game that actually counts toward MSU’s conference championship hopes.
Quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who suffered from spotty blocking and dropped passes, couldn’t make anything happen in his second home start. The junior completed 23 of 44 passes for 187 yards, while Le’Veon Bell tallied 77 yards on 19 carries. Overall, the Spartans managed just 237 yards of total offense.
The Spartans put themselves in a bad spot almost immediately, falling behind 14-0 early in the second quarter. The receivers struggled throughout the first half while the offensive line had protection issues, as Maxwell and Co. managed just 189 yards of total offense.
Maxwell was 10 of 18 for 74 yards and no touchdowns in the first half, Keith Mumphery was the only MSU wideout with more than one catch and the Spartans’ longest passing play of the first half was a measly 19 yards.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was conversely efficient, completing 7 of 19 passes for 126 yards and one touchdown, a 36-yard strike to tight end John Goodman. Robby Toma led the Irish with three receptions for 46 yards in the first half.
MSU’s defense was stout against the run, allowing 63 rushing yards, but the Spartans managed only 47 of their own on the ground.