Calhoun's touchdowns lead MSU to win

Defensive end returns fumble, interception in 21-6 win against South Florida.

Two defensive touchdowns and a pair of quarterbacks were the part of the recipe for success for Michigan State against Western Michigan last Friday.

After kickoff was delayed more than an hour Saturday, the Spartans added a third quarterback to the mix and again had two defensive touchdowns in their 21-6 win against South Florida.

"Great job by our defense (Saturday)," head coach Mark Dantonio said. "Outstanding job, two scores, numerous sacks. Certainly limited their passing game and run game effectively."

Both defensive touchdowns came courtesy of sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun. His first, a 4-yard fumble return of a sack from Tyler Hoover, put the Spartans up 7-0 in the second quarter.

The second came on a 56- yard interception return off a deflection by linebacker Taiwan Jones and gave the Spartans a 14-6 edge in the third.

He said seeing the offseason focus of scoring points on defense come to fruition is "mind-blowing."

"Even if our offense is good, even if they are doing great, we want to be able to make that another aspect to our game, to be able to score on defense, to be able to score touchdowns," he said.

While the defense came out and showed what it brings to the table, the offense struggled to move the ball again – with three quarterbacks getting playing time.

"(We) have to keep playing, obviously, offensively," Dantonio said. "We've got to change things up, we've got to try to get something rolling. Not enough points being put on the board. Not enough explosive plays. I think we continue to run the ball OK. But there's got to be a complement to that, and we'll find that and we'll continue to work it.

Sophomore Connor Cook started and redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor and senior Andrew Maxwell both played.

Cook, who said he was told Monday he would start, was 6 of 11 passing for 32 yards. He said he thinks the passing game is doing "alright."

"We have such good athletes that we can utilize in the ways that we can on the field," he said. "I feel like we haven't even touched our potential. We have the athletes, we're gonna use them in the right way. It's a work-in progress and this is just the beginning for our offense."

O'Connor, seeing the field for the first time, played two drives in the second quarter and was 2 of 4 passing for 22 yards. He said he thought he played well for the most part – until a poor decision in the red zone led a Kevin Muma field goal attempt, which was missed.

"We moved the ball and everything," he said. "In the red zone, that's where quarterbacks are judged and how many points they put on the scoreboard. In the end, just do my job. I forced that ball at the end and made a poor decision on the run to the left. You know, things to improve on but it's nice to get that first game experience."

Maxwell came in to start the second half and led two drives, going 4 of 9 for 40 yards.

Dantonio said the Spartans went with the senior because he knows the most about the offense.

"We went to Maxwell because I believed that he gave us the best chance to move the ball down the field because he knows the most about our offense," Dantonio said.

Offensive coordinator Dave Warner added the coaches went with Maxwell because the run game was effective.

"We made the decision at halftime that we wanted to put Andrew back in there," Warner said. "Felt like our running game was working well without a quarterback run attack and our passing game was not working well, so we went with the best passer."

Junior running back Jeremy Langford scored the lone offensive touchdown for the Spartans on a 2-yard run with 10:12 to go in the fourth quarter.

Langford finished with five catches for 21 yards and nine rushes for 38 yards.

Nick Hill led the rushing attack with 65 yards on nine carries, including a pair of 20-yard runs. Riley Bullough also factored in with six carries for 38 yards.

South Florida scored its six points via two field goals, both in the second quarter.

Spartan Digest Top Stories