Play calling a momentum killer vs Notre Dame

Wide receiver pass resulted in interception and stalled Michigan State offense in 17-13 loss.

Michigan State had struggled to run the ball against Notre Dame in the past couple meetings with just 79 yards in the two games.

The same issues weren't as present as the Spartans had 119 yards on the ground in their 17-13 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday.

"We really ran the ball well," quarterback Connor Cook said. "We really wore down the defense, but we just couldn't execute in the red zone."

In the third quarter, Michigan State opened with a 15-play, 75-yard drive which ended with a 25-yard field goal from Michael Geiger.

The drive seemed to stall when MSU went to a wildcat run with Jeremy Langford on first-and-10 from the Irish 12 after six previous run plays for Langford netting 31 yards on the drive.

The ensuing drive opened with two Langford runs in the first three plays for gains of 5 and 11 yards.

Then, the Spartans called for a pass on a pitch to wide receiver R.J. Shelton, a true freshman. Shelton threw it into double coverage and it was intercepted by Matthias Farley.

Head coach Mark Dantonio said it was his call to have Shelton throw the ball.

"I made the suggestion on that one because I felt like we needed a big play," he said. "He's got an arm on him. The guy was covered. Probably should have just pulled it down and ran.

I'll take responsibility for that. But I felt like we needed a big play. We did drive it down the field. I guess a little lost in terms of what came first. We drove it down the field the first time, second half right out of the box there. Had to come up with a field goal."

Notre Dame took the turnover and turned it into a touchdown to make it 17-10 in the fourth quarter and that proved to be the difference.

Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook said the interception and play call changed momentum a lot.

"We only really ran that once in practice," Cook said. "We probably should have mentioned to R.J. if it's not there to just run it. I think that really changed momentum, but he's young. He's inexperienced and he'll learn from it."

Spartan Digest Top Stories