No. 7 Michigan St. overpowers Maryland, 40-21
Payton Thorne tossed four touchdown passes, Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Walker III gained 143 rushing yards with two touchdowns and No. 7 Michigan State posted a 40-21 win over visiting Maryland on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.
The Spartans rebounded from their first loss of the season last week at Purdue by racking up 481 yards of total offense, outpacing Maryland’s own inconsistent efforts on offense.
Thorne completed 22 of 31 passes for 287 yards with one interception. Jayden Reed caught eight balls for 114 yards and two scores for Michigan State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten).
Taulia Tagovailoa went 29-for-48 passing for 350 yards, two touchdowns and one pick for Maryland (5-5, 2-5). Rakim Jarrett hauled in 10 passes for 105 yards and Chigoziem Okonkwo caught eight for 112 and two touchdowns.
Michigan State completed passing touchdowns on two of its first three drives, including a flea-flicker on the opening drive that set up a 52-yard score to Montorie Foster. It was 13-0 after a missed PAT on the second touchdown.
Maryland got on the board with three seconds remaining in the first quarter. Tagovailoa took a designed run 45 yards down the left sideline to the Spartans’ 4, and Peny Boone ran it in on the next play.
Thorne used play-action on a third-and-goal from the 2 for a touchdown pass to Connor Heyward. Walker finally got his turn on a 1-yard rushing score on the next Michigan State possession, and at 27-7 the game threatened to turn into a blowout.
But Tagovailoa orchestrated a pitch-perfect two-minute drill with completions of 5, 23 and 20 yards before he found Okonkwo for a 32-yard score, making it 27-14 by halftime.
The Terrapins started the second half with the ball and drove downfield again, but Noah Harvey intercepted Tagovailoa at Michigan State’s 1-yard line. The Spartans came back with another quick drive that ended in Thorne finding Reed for a 3-yard TD toss.
Just three plays later, Okonkwo struck again for Maryland. The tight end caught a screen pass and took it down the right sideline 32 yards, hurdling two diving tacklers on his way to making it 34-21.
Maryland’s next two drives came up short — first a third-down intentional grounding call leading to a missed field goal try, then a turnover on downs inside the Spartans’ 25.
Walker scored again from 3 yards out with 10:34 left to play to conclude the scoring.
The Terrapins committed 13 penalties for 93 yards.
–Field Level Media