Unforced Personal Fouls Contributed To Loss At Nebraska

Unforced Personal Fouls Contributed To Loss At Nebraska

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Unforced Personal Fouls Contributed To Loss At Nebraska

A closer look at the Spartans’ ugly 9-6 loss to Nebraska reveals an uncharacteristic lack of focus that led to penalties that played significant roles in the loss for Michigan State.

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For as crummy as Michigan State looked on Saturday during the 9-6 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln, the Spartans still could have – and should have – beaten the Huskers.

A strange lack of balance in the offensive scheme late in the 4th quarter with the game still winnable played a role in the loss.

The Spartans’ season-long offensive struggles certainly played a role in the loss.

But for the first time this season (and perhaps much longer than that), it’s fair to point to some moments when the Spartans lost their focus and discipline and earned damaging penalties that changed the course of drives, kept points off the board, and contributed substantially to the loss.

Michigan State was flagged 7 times for 87 yards over the course of the game but there were a few that stand out in looking back at the way the Spartans wound up on the downside of a 9-6 game.

PERSONAL FOUL #1

A 15-yard personal foul against Naquan Jones dramatically changed the dynamics after Michigan State had recovered a fumble at the its own 47-yard line in the 1st quarter with a chance to extend its 3-0 lead.

The penalty moved the ball back to the Spartans’ 32-yard line, completely changing the tone and feel of the opportunity.

Michigan State wound up punting the ball.

PERSONAL FOUL #2

In the 2nd quarter, after Matt Dotson couldn’t finish what would have been a tough grab in the endzone, he earned a 15-yard personal foul which pushed the Spartans back, changing what would have been Matt Coghlin’s 26-yard field goal attempt to a 41-yarder – and the 41-yard attempt hit the upright and was no good.

It’s safe to assume that Coghlin would have converted the 26-yarder which would have extended Michigan State’s lead to 6-0.

PERSONAL FOUL #3

In the 4th quarter, after Michigan State took a 6-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Matt Coghlin, Shakur Brown was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the ensuing kickoff to the Huskers and Nebraska started its drive at its own 45-yard line thanks to the penalty.

Nebraska wound up converting a field goal on that drive, cutting the Spartan lead to 6-3.

Michigan State has always played aggressively, particularly on defense.

But these three personal fouls cover all areas of the team – Jones on defense, Dotson on offense, and Brown on special teams.

Each of the three personal fouls led to either points being taken off the board for Michigan State or points being added to the board for Nebraska.

Tough to recall a game when this Michigan State program has had personal fouls have such a meaningful impact on the outcome of a game.

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