MSU coach Mark Dantonio on loss to Nebraska The Detroit News


Lincoln, Neb. — Whether it’s a lack of focus or a lack of discipline, there’s no doubting how Dantonio felt about the four personal fouls the Spartans committed in Saturday's 9-6 loss to Nebraska.

“I contribute that to losing your composure, I would say,” Dantonio said. “I couldn't even see some of them, but they didn't help us. I thought we overcame them for the most part, but they put us in a tough situation. They hit the one pass right after one of them and we held them down there. I can't remember which ones were which, but I know a couple of them just didn't need to happen.”

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None needed to happen but they all had an impact. The first on Naquan Jones after a fumble recovery took Michigan State from near midfield to its 32 for a drive that ended with a punt and one on tight end Matt Dotson turned what should have been a short field goal into a 41-yard attempt that hit the upright.

The Spartans overcame a roughing the passer on Kenny Willekes, but another personal foul on Shakur Brown in the fourth quarter helped set up the Cornhuskers’ first scoring drive.

Simmons' backfield debut

Michigan State has been known to move some players around, including cornerback Justin Layne who has played some at wide receiver this season.

On Saturday, sophomore linebacker Antjuan Simmons showed up at running back in the second quarter. He got one carry and fumbled the ball.

“Yeah. My idea,” Dantonio said. “He’s been working this week, and he looks good. Really does. He’s got a gear. He ran the ball a ton in high school, plenty of carries. (They got the) helmet right on ball. Bad decision by the head coach, but we overcame it.”

At Ann Arbor Pioneer, Simmons ran for 433 yards and three touchdowns as a senior after a junior season when he gained 1,112 yards on 148 carries with 18 touchdowns.

It was Simmons’ only play as Connor Heyward ran for 80 yards while La’Darius Jefferson had 16 yards and fellow freshman Elijah Collins also played.

Will Simmons get more carries moving forward?

“We’ll see,” Dantonio said.

Extra points

As expected, running back LJ Scott did not make the trip as he intends to redshirt. Others not making the trip included wide receiver Jalen Nailor, offensive lineman David Beedle and running back Weston Bridges.

… A couple of true freshmen traveled for first time, including defensive back Chris Jackson and linebacker Edward Warriner. Neither played.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau