Live updates: MSU rebounds, beats Maryland, 24-7
MSU bounces back, beats Maryland, 24-7
It wasn't always pretty, but Michigan State got the job done.
The Spartans rebounded from last week's stunning loss to Nebraska to beat Maryland, 24-7, this afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
Connor Cook missed the entire second half with a banged-up shoulder, and Tyler O'Connor did just fine in the second half at quarterback.
The Spartans ran almost exclusively in the second half.
Gerald Holmes led the way with 83 yards on the ground, several of those yards earned while carrying tacklers on his back.
The Spartans forced five turnovers, with Montae Nicholson's interception the last late in the second half.
Michigan State returns to action next week against undefeated Ohio State.
MSU throws another interception
It hasn't been a great performance by MSU, but the Spartans should win this game. They still lead 24-7, a chunk into the fourth quarter.
Tyler O'Connor, in at quarterback for Connor Cook, threw an interception on a play-action -- with Maryland's Anthony Nixon picking it off around the Terrapins' 1, and then before he went down, he pitched a lateral to Sean Davis, who raced the ball up around the 30.
O'Connor had a nice fake handoff, which bought him a lot of time to pass.
He just overcooked the deep ball, throwing it just past his own receiver and into the arms of Maryland.
MSU had five turnovers in its first nine games, and now has three today.
MSU recovers another fumble
Maryland seemed be to be driving quite nicely late here in the third quarter, even picking up a big first down on fourth down.
But then the Terrapins fumbled again, and lost it -- to the Spartans' Demetrius Cooper.
It's the fourth turnover of the day for Maryland -- two fumbles and two interceptions.
It was an odd play call for Maryland on third-and-12, running the ball. Perhaps the Terrapins were trying to get into field-goal range.
In any event, now they're out of field-goal range, and the Spartans have the ball again.
Michigan State leads 24-7, late in the third quarter.
MSU runs out to 24-7 lead
Connor Cook appears done for the day for Michigan State.
He was seen slamming his helmet on the sideline to start the second half, as Tyler O'Connor ran out to the huddle.
Cook is battling a right shoulder injury after being hit hard several times in the opening half.
O'Connor led the Spartans to their first touchdown in the first half, and did it again early in the second half.
Michigan State went 68 yards for the score, and didn't attempt a single pass -- running the whole way.
O'Connor, himself, even had a nifty keeper for a first down, setting up the 2-yard touchdown run by Gerald Holmes, the featured back for MSU today.
MSU scores just before half
Michigan State has 17 points at the half.
All 17 of them have come off Maryland turnovers.
Caleb Rowe, in at quarterback for Maryland, was picked off on his first pass, by Michigan State's Arjen Colquhoun.
A few plays later, Michael Geiger kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired on the half. That put MSU up, 17-7, on Maryland.
MSU quarterback Connor Cook still is batting a shoulder injury, but he's hanging in there.
He nearly threw a TD pass to Aaron Burbridge, but Burbridge dropped it in the end zone to force the Spartans to settle for a field goal.
MSU receivers have dropped several catchable passes in this game.
MSU takes 14-7 lead
Well, MSU's offense can't get anything going.
So the Spartans defense has stepped up to retake the lead over Maryland.
Maryland had a little momentum on its drive late in the second quarter, when quarterback Perry Hills peeled off a 31-yard run.
But Hills is much better with his legs than he is with his arm -- and that showed a few plays later when he let go a bad underthrow, and Michigan State's Riley Bullough was there to pick it off.
Bullough scampered to his right and ran down the sideline for a Michigan State touchdown.
And suddenly the large Spartan Stadium crowd is into things again.
MSU abysmal on offense
Michigan State should have a huge lead by now. Yet, the game remains tied at 7.
Maryland's punting has been so bad, Michigan State has started each of its last four drives at the 50 or better.
And yet, Michigan State only has the seven points -- and on its last three drives, it's botched a fake field goal, thrown an interception and punted the ball.
MSU quarterback Connor Cook is just 3-of-12 passing, and really is laboring with that sore shoulder.
MSU's only scoring drive was run by Cook's backup, Tyler O'Connor.
MSU throws interception
Michigan State had five turnovers in its first nine games, and now has two in the first half against Maryland.
Clearly, Connor Cook is not 100 percent, as that right shoulder still is bothering him, a lot. Every time he comes off the field, he's massaging that shoulder; on the field, he can barely do his pre-snap punch.
Despite another horrid punt by Maryland, Michigan State couldn't take advantage.
Gerald Holmes got things started with a nice, tough run for a first down, but the drive then stalled.
On third-and-13, Cook threw deep to the end zone, where Maryland's Anthony Nixon picked it off.
It's not the worst pick in the world, as the Terrapins will have to start around their 1. Still, MSU must start taking advantage of short fields.
MSU's fake field goal fails
MSU's confidence in kicker Michael Geiger isn't exactly high.
And it showed again when, on a 32-yard field-goal try, the Spartans called for a fake -- and Geiger was hit right away.
It killed a nice little drive for Michigan State, which started on the 50 thanks to a shanked Maryland punt.
Connor Cook was back in the game, despite the shoulder injury -- and his one big pass, to Macgarrett Kings Jr., was on the money for 28 yards. Kings made a hell of a catch, hauling it in with one hand before cradling it.
Still, though, the Spartans couldn't get anymore points and it remains 7-7.
MSU's Connor Cook back in; Spartans fumble
Good news for Michigan State: Connor Cook is back in the game, after leaving with a shoulder injury in the first quarter.
Bad news for Michigan State: L.J. Scott fumbled to start the second quarter, and Maryland recovered.
Maryland's defense has been pretty impressive today.
Michigan State's defense stepped up after the fumble, with Riley Bullough recording a sack and Maryland going three-and-out.
Maryland ties MSU at 7
Maryland went up-tempo on its second drive, and MSU's defense was flustered.
The Terrapins went 91 yards in 10 plays in under 3 minutes to tie the Spartans at 7, with Brandon Ross picking up the touchdown on a run from about the half-yard line.
It looked like Maryland scored on the play before, but the receiver, catching Perry Hills' pass, was ruled down just short.
Hills had a really good drive, including some running of his own. He's definitely a double threat.
He can be wild passing, but he found Levern Jacobs on two huge plays on the drive -- one for 37 yards, another for 13 yards.
MSU defensive back Shilique Calhoun injured his hip on the drive, but has since come back in.
O'Connor leads MSU to early lead
Connor Cook is healthy, but Mark Dantonio put backup quarterback Tyler O'Connor in for the second drive of the game.
And he looked pretty poised, leading the Spartans to a 7-0 lead.
On second-and-10 from MSU's own 11, O'Connor was poised and patient before firing a strike to Macgarrett Kings Jr. in the end zone.
It's the first touchdown pass of O'Connor's career. His first pass of any kind came earlier in the drive, when he fired a massive overthrow.
R.J. Shelton had a few decent runs and a nice catch to move the chains.
The drive took 10 plays in all.
MSU gets early turnovver
MSU's first drive on offense wasn't much to speak of, as the Spartans had to punt with Connor Cook rushed under center.
Michigan State got the ball right back, though, with Damon Knox recovering a fumble. Maliik McDowell knocked the ball from Wes Brown's hands.
Maryland got a couple early gifts from MSU early with a couple penalties, but then turned the ball over for the 31st team this season. That's easily the most in the conference.
The Spartans will take over around midfield.
Spartans aim for bounceback
Michigan State looks to bounce back from last week's crushing loss against Nebraska.
In the Spartans' way is Maryland, which is 2-7, has had a brutal season and even fired its coach, Randy Edsall.
Michigan State's national-championship hopes aren't completely lost, but the Spartans' suffered a big setback last week. Now, they must win out -- starting today, and including next week's game against Ohio State -- to get to the Big Ten title game and have a shot at Iowa and the Final Four.
The MSU defense will be something to watch today, after the Spartans secondary got torched last week in Nebraska, particularly on the final drive.
Kickoff is coming up shortly at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.