In Michigan State fashion the Spartans won the coin toss and deferred until the second half. Following a Kevin Cronin kickoff and a nine play 49-yard drive that saw the Spartans defense force a fourth down and BYU pass interference call, the Spartans took over on offense on what would become their best drive of the day.
Starting on their own 28-yard line, quarterback Tyler O’Connor looked more like the quarterback Spartan fans saw against Notre Dame than the one they’d seen the previous two weeks.
With a 15-play drive that took up over seven minutes and churned up 72-yards of Spartan Stadium turf, Gerald Holmes would punch the ball into the end zone with an eight yard run and early 7-0 advantage over the visiting Cougars.
But what was more impressive on the drive was the play of O’Connor who opened the drive with four consecutive passes completing three and finishing the drive with eight pass attempts completing six of them.
For whatever reason the Spartans went away from what was successful in their first drive of the day with O’Connor only attempting three more passes before being pulled for Damion Terry.
With a running attack that was stopped by the Cougars for only 85 total yards on the day and knowing they struggled against the pass, one would think the Spartans would have pass the ball more than they ran it. But that wasn’t the case and left many wondering what changed after the Spartans first drive and in the end see O’Connor be replaced.
Mark Dantonio answered that question after the game.