Turnovers continue to be a common theme for the Maryland football team.
Saturday afternoon was no different as the Terrapins fell to Michigan State 24-7.
Maryland turned the ball over on five different occasions, including quarterbacks Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills both tossing interceptions. Rowe ended up throwing a pair of interceptions on the day. Hills took a majority of the snaps, but Maryland completed just 17-of-36 passes for just 182 yards as a team.
The Terps did force three Spartan turnovers, including one interception apiece from starter Connor Cook and backup Tyler O’Connor. Michigan State quarterbacks weren’t much better as they completed just 12-of-32 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Maryland brought the defensive pressure early in the game and were able to keep Michigan State off the scoreboard on their first drive. However, the Terps offense shot themselves in the foot right off the bat.
With 11:37 left in the opening quarter, running back Wes Brown took a delayed handoff and nose tackle Malik McDowell knocked it out of his hands. Fellow nose tackle Damon Knox recovered the fumble for Michigan State.
The Spartans elected to go with O’Connor on their second drive. It certainly paid off as he led Michigan State on a 10-play drive that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown toss to wideout Macgarrett Kings to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead.
Maryland responded on their ensuing drive with a 37-yard play action completion from Hills to wide receiver Levern Jacobs at their own 44-yard line. Jacobs later caught a 13-yard pass when Hills rolled out to his right to put Maryland inside the Michigan State 10-yard line.
The Terps elected to use cornerback Will Likely in the slot on the very next play and Hills found him over the middle. Likely extended to attempt to cross the plane, but his knee was ruled down on the play. However, Maryland punched it in on the very next play on a one-yard touchdown run from running back Brandon Ross.
The 91-yard drive was the longest of the season for Maryland and it was also the 13th rushing touchdown of Ross’ Maryland career.
After both teams sputtering along offensively, Hills tossed an interception to linebacker Riley Bullough on third-and-nine. Bullough ended up returning the interceptions for a 44-yard touchdown to give Michigan State a 14-7 lead with 2:07 left in the first half.
With 1:00 to go in the opening half, quarterback Caleb Rowe came in for Hills and immediately threw an interception. The Spartans would go on to convert a 35-yard field goal courtesy of Michael Geiger to give Michigan State a 17-7 lead just before halftime.
This was the fifth game that Rowe threw multiple interceptions.
Michigan State added another touchdown on a three-yard run by running back Gerald Holmes. The Spartans ran the football on all 11 plays of the drive and the touchdown extended the Spartan lead to 24-7.
The story of the game was Maryland’s turnovers and their inability to capitalize on Michigan State’s miscues. The Terps did outgain the Spartans by a margin of 27 yards (289 to 262).
Both teams accumulated 16 first downs as well.
Maryland is still in search of their first Big Ten victory. The Terps return home to face Indiana next Saturday before closing out the season on the road against Rutgers on Nov. 28.