September 23, 2017
It didn’t take long for the Spartans to allow their first defensive touchdown of the year in a 38-18 loss.
Just 1:55 off the clock, to be exact.
The Notre Dame offense scored in a swift seven plays, and a Brian Lewerke interception return for a touchdown later, the Irish were up 14-0.
MSU’s offense responded in its ensuing drive to make it a 14-7 game. But from there, the turnovers reared back its ugly head.
After a Lewerke and Scott fumble later, the Irish took a 28-7 lead into the locker room and never looked back.
The Spartans tried to answer, driving for a field goal straight out of half. But the Irish responded with an eight-play touchdown drive.
From there, the offense showed life, but it was far too little, far too late. And MSU dropped its first game of the young 2017 season.
Time of possession, yards battle won, but not enough
The Spartans held the ball far longer than the Irish, 34:03-25:57. Even out-gaining them, too, 496-355 in total yards.
But the turnovers were far too much to overcome.
Despite holding the ball longer than the Irish, and even out-gaining them, too, it still wasn’t enough.
Turnovers bury MSU
Despite the yardage difference, one stat reigned supreme. The 3-0 margin between the Spartans and Irish in the turnover battle proved be the difference.
The nail in the coffin was Scott’s fumble right at the goal line. If held, it would’ve given the Spartans a touchdown to cut it to a one-possession game. But instead, it was an Irish touchback, and they drove down the field for another touchdown.
MSU showed some flashes of life on offense, but it wasn’t meant to be, as the Spartans quietly went down into the night.
Penalties stall Spartan drives, extend Irish ones
The Irish took what the Spartans gave them. And that proved to be too much for a mistake-filled loss for MSU.
MSU committed a whopping nine penalties for 97 yards. Notre Dame had its gaffes, combining for six penalties for 65 yards, but some infractions were too big to handle.
During a crucial third-and-1, the Spartans had Irish tailback Dexter Williams stopped. Except a five-yard penalty gave the Irish a first down, and ultimately, the touchdown.
MSU looks to bounce back against the Iowa Hawkeyes next week on Sept. 30. Kickoff for that game is at 4 p.m.