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Three Up, Three Down: Michigan State falls to Maryland for third straight defeat

The Spartans fall to 0-2 in Big Ten play after coming up short against the Terrapins...

Michigan State has lost three consecutive games and is 0-2 in Big Ten play following a 27-13 loss at Maryland.

The Spartans defense struggled early before tightening up in the second half to stay in the game. Unfortunately, MSU's offense wasn't able to capitalized, as they were held scoreless in the final 30 minutes.

As always, let's look at the positive and negative takeaways from today's game:

Three Up

1. MSU defense is good at one thing...

...goal line stands.

Michigan State came up with another goal line stand tonight, to hold the score at 24-13 early in the fourth quarter. The Spartans continue to be good at short-yardage run situations.

We know how much this defense has struggled in other areas, but we can tip our caps to this beat up defensive line, which was missing Jacob Slade, Jeff Pietrowski and Khris Bogle, for standing tall with their backs against the wall.

2. Jayden Reed returns to form

It was good to see Reed back to full strength and make an impact on the field again. The senior wide receiver finished with seven catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

There were a few other plays were Reed was open but quarterback Payton Thorne wasn't able to connect with him. I'm sure that's frustrating for both guys, who were one of the best passer-receiver duos in the Big Ten a season ago.

3. Michigan State's defense stiffens in 2nd half

To be honest, Michigan State's defense did enough in the second half to keep the Spartans in this game, but the offense did not taken advantage. That goes back to the lack of "complimentary football" that head coach Mel Tucker has talked about these last couple weeks.

Yes, the Spartans still surrendered a lot of yards, but MSU came up with the goal-line stand mentioned above, and forced Maryland into a several field goal attempts. Michigan State's defense held the Terrapins' offense 10 points below their season average, which I did not expect coming into this game.

Three Down

1. MSU tailback rotation baffles...again

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Michigan State's rotation of the tailbacks this season has been odd, to say the least.

Elijah Collins was very effective on the limited snaps that he played. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry and scored a touchdown, but was handed the ball just five times in the game. Likewise, Jarek Broussard totaled 40 yards of offense on just three carries and two receptions.

Both of those guys were fairly productive on their limited opportunities, and yet it was Jalen Berger who got the majority of the carries for the Spartans. Berger finished with 34 yards on nine carries, and added three catches for 19 yards. He also had a third down drop near MSU's own goal line, and has struggled in the pass game.

Maybe it's time to give Collins more opportunities, and not just in the red zone. Likewise, Broussard is probably Michigan State's best pass-catching option out of the backfield, and should more chances in that area.

2. Michigan State kicking game was horrible

I won't go so far as to say that MSU's kicking game cost them a win today, but it certainly didn't do the Spartans any favors.

First, Auburn grad transfer Ben Patton was called on for a 34-yard field goal attempt, but missed it wide right to keep Michigan State trailing 14-7 after a nice drive by the Spartans.

Then, after MSU's second touchdown, a bad snap on the extra point kept the Spartans from tying the game at the time.

Finally, Michigan State ended the half with a 45-yard field goal attempt, this time from true freshman Jack Stone. The kick was blocked, and the Spartans were fortunate that tight end Tyler Hunt recovered the block, or it could have returned for points by the Terrapins.

These are the things that continue to plague this MSU football team, and the Spartans simply aren't good enough to overcome these issues.

3. Yeah...MSU does have a personnel issue

Let's be fair here — Michigan State is dealing with a ton of injuries on defense, including at least five starters.

Yet, both defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton and head coach Mel Tucker have said that the Spartans don't have a personnel issue, and that simply isn't true.

The Spartans surrendered 489 yards of offense, and Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 314 yards and a touchdown while completing 32-of-41 pass attempts. Once again, MSU's secondary was completely picked apart all day long by an opposing quarterback.

This is far from new information, but Michigan State does not have the personnel in its secondary to compete against even average passing attacks. It was a total mismatch today against Maryland, but like it was against Washington and Minnesota.