We gave the defense some low grades, however, the biggest reason for Saturday's loss to Notre Dame was the Spartans ability to put points on the board, or for that matter, even get in the red-zone.
Hitting just over 50% of his passes is not what the Spartans want or needed on Saturday night. Maxwell didn't throw an interception and had a few of his balls dropped by receivers and backs out of the backfield. You can see continued progress but he needs more time in the pocket having been sacked four times on the night. Not a great performance, but not entirely his fault.
Spartan Digest Grade B
The strength of the Michigan State offense is the run game powered by Le'Veon Bell. The junior running back was never able to get his motor running like we saw against Boise State forcing the Spartans to look for the pass after falling behind. Bell netted 77 yards on 19 carries but was never close to the end zone to use his powers to help the Spartans put points on the board. Besides Bell, the Spartans got one carry by MacGarrett Kings for one yard and saw Maxwell's being sacked four times cost them another 28 yards.
Spartan Digest Grade C+
RECEIVERS / TIGHT ENDS
The Spartans spread the wealth on Saturday night as eight players caught balls against the Irish including Lawrence Thomas. Drops played a role in our overall grade but we're encouraged to see a couple of the young players take the field in Andre Sims and Kings. If the number of drops get fixed and others besides Dion Sims and Keith Mumphery step forward, we'll be more encouraged by the positions overall ability.
Spartan Digest Grade B-
The loss of a member of the offensive line two days out of the game can cause major problems in chemistry. The Spartans offensive line lacked chemistry on Saturday night and it showed as they gave up four sacks and five quarterback hurries. What was even more discouraging was the lack of holes opened for the run game and the fact it looks as if the offense only had one snap in Notre Dame territory in the second half.
Spartan Digest Grade C-