Turning point, unsung hero from Michigan State's 38-27 loss vs. Rutgers
With 5:16 left in the third quarter and Michigan State trailing 28-20, the Spartans' Drew Beesley strip-sacked Rutgers QB Noah Vedral and Naquan Jones recovered the fumble on the Scarlet Knights' 29-yard line. But MSU could not take advantage. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson dialed up four consecutive runs, and on fourth-and-2 from the 21-yard line, freshman running back Jordon Simmons was tackled a yard short of the first down. Rutgers scored a field goal on the ensuing drive early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 11 points en route to a 38-27 win. It's the Scarlet Knights' first Big Ten win since beating Maryland, 31-24, on Nov. 4, 2017, thanks in large part to seven (!) MSU turnovers.
Two players suiting up in their first game as Michigan State players, Simmons and sophomore wide receiver Jayden Reed, showed their potential. Despite a touchdown, two lost fumbles, a drop and a 15-yard penalty in an up-and-down first half, MSU fans should be impressed with what they saw out of Reed. The transfer from Western Michigan finished with 128 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches. He had a 50-yard TD on a fourth-down play in the first half which he mostly made happen on his own, and hauled in a 4-yard pass from Rocky Lombardi with 1:53 left in the game.
"Turnover margin is the largest determining factor in winning or losing games, college and pros. "We talk about it all the time: the ball, the ball, the ball. ... You turn the ball over seven times, it's going to be tough to beat anyone. Those are all things that are correctable and we'll go back to the drawing board." - MSU coach Mel Tucker
Michigan State will travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan for a Halloween day showdown. The game is slated for a noon start. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 71-36-5, and have won the last two games, including a 44-10 blowout at Michigan Stadium last year.
Contact digital sports reporter Phil Friend at 517-377-1220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Friend.