By Noah Trister, AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Matt Coghlin kicked a 33-yard field goal with 2:14 remaining, and Michigan State became bowl eligible with a 19-16 victory over Maryland on Saturday.
It was hardly an impressive performance for the Spartans (6-6, 4-5 Big Ten) against a Maryland team that had lost eight of its previous nine games, but Michigan State did just enough late. The Spartans drove 74 yards in 12 plays to set up the decisive kick by Coghlin, who also made a 32-yard field goal earlier in the final quarter.
The Terrapins (3-9, 1-8) still had a chance after Michigan State took the lead, but Josh Jackson’s pass toward Chigoziem Okonkwo fell incomplete on fourth down from the Maryland 47. Xavier Henderson was providing tight coverage on the play for the Spartans.
Brian Lewerke threw for 342 yards for Michigan State but was intercepted twice in the first quarter. The Spartans had all sorts of trouble against Maryland, which had lost each of its previous four games by at least 31 points.
The Terrapins took a 16-13 lead in the third quarter on a 63-yard touchdown run by Anthony McFarland Jr., but Michigan State kept them off the scoreboard after that. McFarland finished with 134 yards on eight carries.
Each team turned the ball over twice in the first half, the Spartans were also stopped on fourth-and-1 from the Maryland 4-yard line. Lewerke’s 1-yard scoring run with 3:08 left in the second quarter gave Michigan State a 13-7 lead at halftime.
Maryland: This was certainly more competitive than Maryland had looked for much of this season, but aside from McFarland, the Terrapins offered little offensively. They scored 142 points in their first two games of the season and 161 in the final 10.
Michigan State: Coach Mark Dantonio said this week that becoming bowl eligible was basically the minimum standard for his team, and this win felt like that. It was a lot tougher than it needed to be.
Maryland: The Terrapins’ season is over.
Michigan State: The Spartans await a bowl bid.