Connor Heyward rushed for 157 yards and was involved in three touchdowns in Michigan State’s 24-3 Big Ten win at Maryland on Saturday.
The Spartans (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) dominated defensively, holding the Terrapins to a season-low 100 total yards and just 26 rushing yards. Michigan State reached six wins and bowl eligibility with the road victory. Maryland became the seventh team to rush for less than 100 yards against the Spartans’ top-rated run defense.
Maryland (5-4, 3-3), coming off an emotional week when coach DJ Durkin was briefly reinstated and then fired the next day, never mustered much offensively. The Terrapins finished 220 yards below their second-in-the-Big-Ten average of 246.3 yards rushing.
Durkin, who had been on administrative leave following multiple investigations into the program in the wake of sophomore offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death from heatstroke at a summer workout, had returned Wednesday, but a public outcry from students, legislators and the Maryland community, forced university president Wallace Loh to reverse that decision by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
Heyward had 15 rushing attempts, and his 6-yard run in the third quarter ended in a fumble that fullback Max Rosenthal recovered in the end zone to put Michigan State comfortably in front 17-3 with 4:17 left in the third quarter. After Terrapins defensive lineman Byron Cowart fumbled his interception into the end zone for a touchback, Heyward went 80 yards on the next play to make it 24-3 with 11 minutes remaining.
The Spartans led 10-3 at the end of a sluggish first half. Michigan State had gone 79 yards on 12 plays on the Spartans’ initial possession, with Heyward scoring from 18 yards with 7:55 left in the quarter. The Terrapins mustered just 8 total yards and one first down by the end of the quarter and trailed 10-0 after a 33-yard field goal by Matt Coughlin with 3:32 remaining.
Following a 16-yard punt, Maryland moved 36 yards to get a Joseph Petrino 23-yard field goal with 5:13 left in the half. The Terrapins had just 57 total yards at the half, rushing 13 times for 22 yards against stingy Michigan State. The Spartans weren’t much more explosive with 155 total yards at the half, but finished with 361.
—Field Level Media