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Live MSU blog: Final: BYU 31, MSU 14

Al Willman
The Detroit News
Gerald Holmes scores on an 8-yard run in the first quarter.

Michigan State might be in trouble.

Its 31-14 loss to BYU on Saturday is the third in a row for the Spartans, and the first time they’ve lost three in a row since Sept. 12-26, 2009. MSU lost to Central Michigan (29-27), Notre Dame (33-30) and Wisconsin (38-30).

Tyler O'Connor started for the Spartans (2-3). He was 7-of-11 for 56 yards. Damion Terry replaced him in the fourth quarter, going 6-of-10 for 63 yards and an interception.

Gerald Holmes rushed 15 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, while Terry added a 1-yard score in the fourth.

For BYU (3-3), Taysom Hill was 18-of-27 for 138 yards and a touchdown. Jamaal Williams had 30 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Hill also had a touchdown run.

The Spartans host Northwestern on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30.

BYU seals likely win

BYU continued its dominance of Michigan State in the second half with a methodical eight-play, 82-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.

Jamaal Williams -- who gave the Cougars a first-and-goal two plays earlier on a 61-yard run to the MSU 1 -- scored on a 1-yard run. After the extra point, BYU's lead is 17, at 31-14.

It is highly unlikely that Michigan State, with backup quarterback Damion Terry, will come back.

MSU finds end zone late

The Spartans showed a brief glimmer of spark in the fourth quarter. Damion Terry -- on his second drive playing quarterback -- punched in a 1-yard run, giving MSU its first points since the first quarter.

The drive was efficient. The Spartans went 75 yards in 10 plays, and had a first-and-goal from the 1 after Donnie Corley was interfered with in the end zone.

However, the game still looks to be out of reach for Michigan State. With less than five minutes left, BYU leads 24-14.

BYU pours it on in 4Q

BYU increased its lead to 24-7 in the fourth quarter.

The touchdown -- an 8-yard run from Jamaal Williams -- and ensuing extra point makes the second straight week in which Michigan State has given up at least 21 unanswered points.

The Spartans appear to be on the verge of losing three straight games for the first time since Sept. 12-26, 2009. MSU lost to Central Michigan (29-27), Notre Dame (33-30) and Wisconsin (38-30).

Terry in, O'Connor out; Terry throws INT

Michigan State made a change at quarterback in the fourth quarter, going with Damion Terry in place of Tyler O'Connor (7-of-11, 56 yards). Terry helped the Spartans pick up two first downs and took them into BYU territory. However, Terry threw an interception to Michael Davis, who returned it 40 yards to the MSU 32-yard line.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cougars have a 17-7 lead.

BYU adds to lead in 4Q

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill orchestrated a picture-perfect scoring drive, capping it with a 12-yard touchdown run on the keeper.

The drive was BYU's second consecutive 13-play scoring drive. This one went 70 yards in 5:48 and again had only two 10-plus-yard plays.

Michigan State's defense, already banged up to start the game, is now without linebacker Byron Bullough -- the younger brother of injured linebacker Riley Bullough -- and has freshman receiver Justin Layne playing defensive back.

Things look bleak for the Spartans in the fourth quarter. They trail BYU, 17-7.

MSU goes three-and-out again

Michigan State's offense has no rhythm right now.

The Spartans went three-and-out for the second drive in a row to start the second half. After a 4-yard run from Madre London, Tyler O'Connor threw a pass that Monty Madaris dropped. Then on third-and-8, O'Connor was sacked for a loss of nine yards.

Jake Hartbarger's 30-yard punt was downed at the BYU 40-yard line.

BYU leads 10-7 in the third quarter.

BYU takes lead in 3Q

BYU took the lead on its first drive of the third quarter -- making short work of the Michigan State defense along the way.

The Cougars marched 73 yards in 13 plays, finishing with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Taysom Hill to Colby Pearson. Only two of the plays were longer than 10 yards, however.

Malik McDowell returned to the defense after missing the first half for a targeting ejection in the second half of last week's loss to Indiana, making two tackles on the drive.

In the third quarter, BYU leads MSU, 10-7.

MSU throws first pass since first quarter

So the Spartans do still pass the ball.

Sometimes.

The first play of the second half for the Spartans was a 12-yard pass from Tyler O’Connor to R.J. Shelton — the first pass since O’Connor connected with Donnie Corley for five yards on MSU's first drive of the first quarter.

The Spartans then went back to the run, picking up two yards each from Shelton and Gerald Holmes, before O’Connor was sacked on third-and-6. Jake Hartbarger’s 36-yard punt was downed at the BYU 27-yard line, where the Cougars will start their first drive of the second half. MSU leads 7-3.

Halftime: MSU 7, BYU 3

A 35-yard field goal from Brayden El-Bakri as time expired in the first half put BYU on the board, but Michigan State leads 7-3 at the break.

The Spartans ran the ball on its last 13 consecutive plays of the half, last passing on fourth-and-2 (5-yard catch by Donnie Corley on MSU's first drive of the first quarter).

Tyler O'Connor is 6-of-9 for 46 yards for Michigan State.

Gerald Holmes has 12 carries for 53 yards and the lone touchdown for the Spartans. L.J. Scott has three carries for nine yards, while O'Connor has a six-yard run.

Corley has two catches for 13 yards.

For BYU, Taysom Hill is 10-of-17 for 88 yards. Jamaal Williams has 14 carries for 49 yards, while Jonah Trinnaman has five catches for 49 yards.

Michigan State went ahead 7-0 on a 9-yard touchdown run from Holmes with 4:10 left in the first quarter.

Spartans go three-and-out in 2Q

Backed up to its own 4-yard line, the Michigan State offense could not do much and went three-and-out.

The 35-yard punt from Jake Hartbarger was fielded by Garrett Jeurgens at the MSU 49, where he called for a fair catch. Michigan State leads 7-0 late in the second quarter.

MSU defense maintaining 7-0 lead

The Michigan State defense forced BYU to punt again in the first half.

Taysom Hill connected with Jonah Trinnaman for a gain of 22 yards on the first play of the drive, before Jamaal Williams was swallowed up for a loss of a yard. Hill then had to scramble, after he couldn’t find an open receiver, but an illegal shift penalty wiped out the short run — bringing up second-and-16. Williams then picked up seven yards, to make it third-and-9. An incomplete pass from Hill ended the BYU drive. Jonny Linehan’s 38-yard punt was downed at the Michigan State 4-yard line, where the Spartans will start with a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.

MSU runs five times in a row, stalls

MSU ran five times on a drive that stalled at its own 30-yard line.

Gerald Holmes, the beneficiary of all five carries, picked up 16 yards on second-and-7, before two more runs gave the Spartans a fourth-and-2. Jake Hartbarger’s 35-yard punt went out of bounds at the BYU 35, where the Cougars will start midway through the second quarter. MSU leads, 7-0.

Holmes currently has 12 carries for 53 yards and the touchdown for MSU.

Goal-line stand keeps MSU up 7-0

BYU marched deep into MSU territory, but the Spartans defense mounted a big goal-line stand, forcing a turnover on downs in the shadow of their end zone.

Jamaal Williams picked up three yards and a first down after Taysom Hill’s 6-yard pass to Hunter Marshall gave BYU a second-and-8 to start the drive. Two plays later, Hill found Garrett Juergens for a 20-yard gain to the MSU 24-yard line. BYU picked up another first down on third-and-8 — a 10-yard pass to Jonah Trinnaman. Williams then dragged a pair of MSU defenders eight yards, to the MSU 4. Algernon Brown then picked up a yard, bringing up 4th-and-1 at the MSU 3. BYU went for it, but came up half a yard short. The Spartans take over at their own 3, leading 7-0 in the second quarter.

End 1Q: MSU 7, BYU 0

The Spartans went backwards on their second drive.

Tyler O’Connor had trouble fielding the first snap of the drive, and the ball got away from him. O’Connor was able to fall on the ball, but not before a loss of nine. A holding penalty then brought up a second-and-28. O’Connor threw an incomplete pass — an illegal shift was called on MSU, but declined — bringing up third down. He then scampered for five yards, coming up well short of the first down. Jake Hartbarger’s 42-yard punt was downed at the BYU 44-yard line, where the Cougars will begin their third drive down 7-0.

BYU goes three-and-out

BYU went three-and-out on its second drive.

Runs from Jamaal Williams (six yards) and Colby Pearson (three yards) gave BYU a third-and-1 from its own 34-yard line, before a false start penalty backed the Cougars up to their own 39. An incomplete pass that went off the hands of receiver Moroni Laulu-Pututau brought up fourth down, forcing BYU to punt. The 45-yard punt was downed at the MSU 26, where the Spartans start with a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Spartans take 7-0 lead in 1Q

Michigan State wore down the BYU defense on its first drive, which put the Spartans on the board.

On catches of seven and minus-1 yards from R.J. Shelton and an 8-yard catch by Donnie Corley, the Spartans picked up a first down.

Tyler O’Connor then threw an apparent 7-yard pass to Monty Madaris — which was reviewed and overturned — before he found Josiah Price for a gain of 13 on second-and-10.

O’Connor then went deep — throwing to Corley down the left sideline — but the pass was completed out of bounds. O’Connor then connected with Gerald Holmes on a 9-yard pass, and Corley for five, taking the Spartans close to the red zone at the BYU 23-yard line. Holmes followed two plays later, on second-and-7, with a run that nearly found pay dirt, but he tripped a yard shy of the first down. Holmes picked up the first down on the next play — a 2-yard run.

Two plays later, Holmes found the end zone on a 8-yard carry. Michael Geiger’s extra point was good, and after a 15-play, 72-yard drive that took 7:03 off the clock, the Spartans lead 7-0 in the first quarter.

MSU defense forces turnover on downs

BYU’s run game was efficient on its first drive, rushing for 21 yards on four carries. But the MSU defense stood in late, forcing a turnover on downs.

After Taysom Hill connected with Nick Kurtz on a 5-yard pass to start the drive, Jamaal Williams picked up a first down on a 9-yard run. Williams was then stuffed for a loss of a yard, before Hill threw deep on a flea flicker. Tyson Smith, starting at cornerback for the Spartans, was flagged for defensive pass interference. BYU then picked up another first down on back-to-back runs from Williams of five and eight yards, respectively. Hill and Kurtz connected again two plays later, on a 4-yard play. The Spartans forced a fourth down after hurrying Hill — who threw out of bounds as he was being pulled to the ground. BYU went for it on fourth-and-6, but came up a couple yards short.

The Spartans take over at their own 28-yard line in a scoreless game, early in the first quarter.

Game pushed back to 3:41

Michigan State, which dropped out of the Top 25 after its overtime loss to Indiana last week, is turning its focus to BYU – which outlasted Toledo in a 55-53 shootout last Friday.

Kickoff has been moved to 3:41 p.m. from 3:30.

The Spartans (2-2, 0-2 Big Ten) are off to an uncharacteristically slow start, but Matt Charboneau says they may be at a turning point.

Allen Trieu says a number of high-caliber in-state recruits will be in attendance for the game.

The Spartans will be honoring former defensive back Mylan Hicks, who was killed outside a nightclub in Calgary, Alberta. Hicks played for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. His No. 6 is featured in the MSU logo at midfield. A funeral for Hicks was held on Friday in Detroit.

David Goricki checked in on Garden City Community College in Kansas to see how Jayru Campbell is doing. Cambpell was once a top quarterback prospect from Detroit Cass Tech and MSU recruit, until legal issues derailed his chance to start his collegiate career at a Power Five school. GRCC also produced injured Eastern Michigan quarterback Todd Porter.

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HOW TO WATCH: MSU VS. BYU 

Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing

TV: ABC

Radio: WJR 760 AM