It has been uncommon to see a team score at will against Michigan State in recent years. So last Saturday’s loss to Ohio State was something of a rare occurrence and the Spartans came out Saturday against Maryland wanting to show it was just that.
“A lot of people didn’t know how we were going to come out today – if we were going to come out flat because of the loss or come out strong,” cornerback Trae Waynes said. “We knew how we were going to play.”
How they played was what Waynes called “our defense,” as the Spartans held Maryland to just six yards rushing on 17 attempts and 252 total yards in their 37-15 win.
”I knew we would bounce back,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “Last week was very uncharacteristic of us. … (Saturday night), we played much, much better. I that the defensive front did really well eliminating the run.
”Any time you have a difficult outing and then come back and play well, it reaffirms your credibility as a football player and a football unit. I think we were really able to do that. Great job by coaches as well. We returned to who we really are this week.”
The Spartans opened the game with a good level of intensity, as safety Kurtis Drummond almost picked off the first pass of the game from C.J. Brown, who took a big hit from defensive end Shilique Calhoun.
Two plays later, he was given another chance and made that play to set MSU up for its first points of the game – a 22-yard Michael Geiger field goal. After a pair of three-and-outs, MSU allowed just 11 rushing yards to the Terrapins in the first quarter.
”It’s always good when you can get off the field and get it back to the explosive offense that we have this year,” safety R.J. Williamson said. “Those guys are playmakers over there and they are able to keep it in their hands as long as possible.
”As long as we aren’t on the field, that’s a good thing. We harp on that, getting off the field on third down, and we did a good job of that this week.”
They went on to force six three-and-outs, while intercepting two more passes, including Williamson’s second pick-six of the season.
”Great pressure by the defensive line and great tip by Taiwan Jones being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “The ball just fell in my hands. That was the easy part. It was a great play. I think it gave us momentum as well and just happy we got the win.”
But at the end of the day, the Spartans were just happy to get back to the ways they are more accustomed to and do so with a win.
“We know last week wasn’t Spartan football,” Williamson said. “We owed it to the fans and we owed it to ourselves. We wanted come out here and play with a chip on our shoulder.”