Defense was the name of the game Saturday night when the Michigan State Spartans rolled into College Park for the prime time showdown, deemed the "black out."
From the jump, the Maryland defense played strong, forcing a stop on the first drive of the game, thanks in large part to a Cole Farrand pass breakup over the middle. The run defense got push on the first drive, helping the secondary sit on the passing game.
The offense would be of no help early on, failing to notch a first down the entire first quarter, highlighted by a CJ Brown interception on the third play from scrimmage, a problem that seems to be recurring this season for the veteran quarterback.
Following that interception, the defense was able to hold their ground from the 30 yard line, forcing a Spartans field goal from kicker Michael Geiger. The defense would have to make those same stops on the next two drives, and they would be successful, forcing two more Geiger field goals to hold the deficit to nine points early in the second quarter.
As has become a regularity, Will Likely gave new life to the Maryland offense with a big kick return to the Maryland 42 yard line, setting the offense up with great field position to score. This time, the offense would reward the great play, getting a first down, their first of the game, to Jacquille Veii and following it up with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Adams.
The momentum was swinging in the favor of the Terps, but after forcing a Spartan's three and out, Likely muffed the punt, setting the Spartans up with great field position to get another score. Scoring is not what they would do, however, as Geiger would miss a 47-yard field goal, keeping the score at 9-7.
With just over four minutes remaining in the half, the Spartans went to work on offense, and thanks to a missed tackle by Anthony Nixon, the Spartans got within the ten yard line on a 64-yard pass from Conner Cook, eventually punching the ball into the end zone on a Jeremy Langford touchdown run.
The Terps went on the two minute drill, but would ultimately fail to get into scoring position, sending the game to halftime with a score of 16-7 in favor of the Spartans.
The second half got underway with the Terps taking the first possession, but that would be much of the same from the first quarter, with a little bit of hilarity to it. CJ Brown attempted a pass and had it batted back to him, and instead of running up field, he threw the ball away, resulting in an illegal forward pass.
Back-and-forth the Spartans and Terps would go all throughout the quarter, with both sides failing to score until late in the quarter, a tipped ball from Brown was intercepted by RJ Williamson and returned for a touchdown, extending the Spartans lead to 23-7.
The Spartans used the fourth quarter to pound the rock with Langford, shortening the game by killing the clock. The Spartans continued to use quick passes to move the chains and keep the clock rolling. Eventually, Langford would deliver the dagger with a long touchdown run, extending the lead to 30-7.
Against the soft zone employed by the Spartans late in the game, the Terps offense finally got something going, driving down the field to get into scoring position. The Terps would finally score on a long touchdown throw from Brown to Juwann Winfree, his second touchdown of the season. The Terps went for two and converted it, closing the gap to 30-15 with 4:07 remaining.
On the ensuing onside kick, the Spartans recovered at the fifty yards line after the Terps had a couple of chances to recover.The Spartans wouldn't take long to run their way into the end zone with Nick Hill taking a long run to the house.
The Terps final possession would end on a failed fourth down conversion, giving finality to the frustrating game for the Maryland offense.
The lack of offensive productivity inevitably hurt the Terps defense, spoiling a strong start from the unit. The Spartans dominated time of possession, eventually wearing down the Terps defense en route to the 30 point output. The Terps failed to establish anything in the running game, passing all around the field, but struggling to pickup first downs for most of the game.
The loss knocks the Terps down to 3-3 in the Big Ten, and 6-4 overall.