Michigan State’s “No Fly Zone” is hardly familiar with allowing long pass plays.
Mariota followed it up later in the second when he connected with wide receiver Devon Allen for a 70-yard touchdown.
The Ducks also had passing scores of 24 (Allen) and 37 (Keanon Lowe) in the third quarter, the latter of which came on blown coverage.
Afterward, the Spartans pointed to miscommunication on some of the big pass plays for the Ducks.
“A lot of it was just miscommunication on our back end,” senior safety Kurtis Drummond said. “We practiced all week and got on the field and at times miscommunicated, misaligned and things that are all correctable on our end.”
Coach Mark Dantonio seconded Drummond, saying the communication element was something Michigan State worked on leading up to the game.
“It was extremely loud out there, for whatever reason, the first time Trae Waynes tripped and fell down on it,” Dantonio said.
”The second time, just blew the coverage. Not sure why that happened, but as a coach, you take responsibility for that.”
While Dantonio was quick to take responsibility, Drummond did the same.
“I put that on my secondary,” he said. “We gotta get lined up quicker and communicate better, not only myself but all of us. We will learn from it.”
Mariota finished 17 of 28 for 318 yards and three touchdowns. His 318 yards were more than any opponent had against Michigan State last season, as Indiana had the high with 259.