Maxwell’s chance comes late

TYLER JAMES
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND

With the game on the line, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio took the ball out of Connor Cook’s hands.

A freshman wide receiver threw the only interception of the game early in the second half for the Spartans. Then with 2:11 remaining in the game, Dantonio turned the reins over to fifth-year senior Andrew Maxwell.

“I would have wished that the coaches had faith to keep me in there in a critical situa-tion,” Cook said.

Maxwell had no more luck than Cook on the final drive. The senior quarterback threw three incomplete passes, was called for a delay of game and rushed for eight yards on fourth-and-20.

“I think we put him in there just to try to change the pace,” Dantonio said. “We felt like he needed an oppor-tunity, should give him an opportunity. Tough situation to put him in at — obviously didn't work out.”

Maxwell gave the offense he inherited from Cook a lit-tle inspirational talk, but it proved fruitless.

“He was just telling us we have a chance right here to go down in history with a drive that beat Notre Dame,” offensive tackle Jack Conklin said. “We just have to get to the line fast, keep everything moving smoothly.”

Cook hadn’t exactly lit up the Irish defense throughout the game. He finished 16-of-32 passing for 135 yards and one touchdown. But with the game on the line, he was left to watch from the sideline as another failed drive for the Spartans clinched a win for the Irish.

Losing a redshirt

After starting kicker Kevin Muma missed a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter, freshman Michael Geiger re-ceived the nod to take his first collegiate kick.

Geiger came on to kick the extra point following a Macgarrett Kings Jr. touch-down in the second quarter. He added field goals of 25 yards and 42 yards in the third and fourth quarters, re-spectively, to tally seven points in his first game action at Michigan State.

“What better place to kick a field goal,” Geiger said. “Touchdown Jesus overlook-ing and the Irish faithful. Every kick’s the same for me and I just came out here and tried to do my thing.”

Rivals.com and 247Sports ranked Geiger, a native of Toledo, Ohio, as the No. 1 kicker in the 2013 recruiting class. Dantonio said he ex-pects Geiger to take control of the kicking duties.

“You don't put him in against Notre Dame unless he's the kicker. Took the red-shirt off him, he's the kicker,” Dantonio said. “He's shown great promise throughout summer camp. Obviously wasn't perfect in that, but it's his time now. He needs to grow up quick.”

Sparty stats

*For the 10th time in the last 14 games between Michigan State and Notre Dame, the game was de-cided by seven or fewer points.

*Michigan State entered the game with four defensive touchdowns, but failed to force a turnover. Defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who scored three of those touch-downs, was limited to just two tackles and one tackle for a loss against Notre Dame

*A 19-yard completion from Connor Cook to Bennie Fowler marked the longest offensive play of the game for the Spartans

*Only USC (35) has more wins over Notre Dame than Michigan State (28).

Notre Dame safety Matthias Farley (41) intercepts a pass intended for Michigan State wide receiver Bennie Fowler (13) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at Notre Dame. SBT Photo/JAMES BROSHER