By: Jeff Ghiringhelli
Welcome everyone to my live blog of the Alamo Bowl featuring Michigan State and Texas Tech. I’m all set to go, just awaiting the conclusion of the Liberty Bowl right now on ESPN. I can’t even force myself to have interest in this game; I mean East Carolina vs. Arkansas? Game is headed for overtime. Stay tuned.
13:24 1st Qtr: Keshawn Martin showing some early confidence with a nice kickoff return and a third down reception. Also interesting to note backup QB Keith Nichol spread out in the slot on that third down play. Two plays later, Cousins throws a terrible pass that is intercepted by the Red Raiders. Went from a nice start to a bad one with one play.
8:00 1st Qtr: Touchdown Texas Tech on an impressive opening drive. Taylor Potts goes 5 for 5 completing passes to four different receivers, and Baron Batch finished it off with a three yard touchdown run. The mismatches identified in my preview of the game are already coming to light, and the MSU defense already has to start making big time adjustments. 7-0 Texas Tech
3:47 1st Qtr: After a confidence boosting three and out from the MSU defense, the offense shows its quick strike ability and evens the scoreboard. Cousins throws a 19 yard pass to Blair White, then Edwin Baker breaks a 46 yard touchdown run to tie the score. It is Baker’s longest career run and first touchdown. Game tied 7-7
14:12 2nd Qtr: Texas Tech pulls ahead on a 21 yard field goal. Holding this offense to a field goal at this point in the game can be considered a victory for the MSU defense, especially the way the Red Raiders were moving the ball. Let’s see how the Spartan offense responds now. 10-7 Texas Tech
11:01 2nd Qtr: After a very shady kick catch interference call against the Spartans, Taylor Potts connects on a 50-yard flea flicker setting up Texas Tech inside the five. Three plays later, Potts finds Lyle Leong for the touchdown. MSU went three and out on their last possession, and they cannot do that again if they want to keep pace. 17-7 Texas Tech
8:06 2nd Qtr: What a huge response by the Spartans. Cousins avoids a sack on third down, scrambles to his right and finds Keshawn Martin for a 48 yard touchdown pass. Great improv play by both Cousins and Martin, who seem to be finding a nice chemistry in the first half. Time for the defense to step it up. 17-14 Texas Tech
:20 2nd Qtr: Texas Tech field goal from 38 yards out is good. The offense was on the move again, but the drive was stalled when Brandon Carter was called for a personal foul. Another moral victory for the MSU defense, who is getting shredded in the passing game but has limited Texas Tech’s ability to score touchdowns. We head to halftime with a pretty good second half to look forward to. 20-14 Texas Tech
12:15 3rd Qtr: Wow. Talk about your perfect start to the second half. Texas Tech fumbles the opening kickoff, and MSU recovers it. A few plays later, Keith Nichol comes in on a third and three and on a quarterback draw runs it into the endzone untouched. All the momentum in this game is now with the Spartans, so once again the defense needs to respond. As I’m writing this, Brett Swenson’s kickoff goes out of bounds. Ouch. 21-20 Michigan State
6:32 3rd Qtr: Another methodical, swing pass-filled drive by the Red Raiders that leads to a go-ahead touchdown. 92 yards in nine plays capped off by the second touchdown toss by Potts. He has already thrown for over 300 yards, but the Red Raider defense has not done much better which is keeping MSU in this game right now. 27-21 Texas Tech
1:18 3rd Qtr: Holy cow what a sequence of events for the Spartans. They appear to be lining up for a field goal, when punter Aaron Bates takes the snap and completes it to Charlie Gantt for the first down. Then, Keshawn Martin (out of the Wildcat) finds Blair White in the end zone for the touchdown. Three different Spartans completed a pass on that drive. Don’t see that every day. 28-27 Michigan State
10:29 4th Qtr: Taylor Potts threw his first interception of the game earlier in the quarter, giving MSU a ton of momentum. The offense has capitalized to this point, eating some clock and now getting in comfortable field goal range for Swenson. Interesting to note that Potts went back to the locker room to get his head checked out, but he has since returned to the sidelines. MSU lineman Rocco Cironi is down on the field right now. Back soon with a score update.
8:05 4th Qtr: Brett Swenson connects from 44 yards out, forcing Texas Tech to score a touchdown if they are to regain the lead. The holding call on Cironi, which resulted in his injury, really put a halt to this drive, but points are points. 31-27 Michigan State
5:03 4th Qtr: Apparently it doesn’t matter who is playing quarterback for Texas Tech. Backup Steven Sheffield replaces Potts, and leads a touchdown drive going 6 for 6 for 75 yards. Key play was a 42 yard completion to Lyle Leong on a 3rd and 12. The Red Raiders have not shown much on defense to this point, which is good news because the Spartans have got to move the ball now. 34-31 Texas Tech
3:29 4th Qtr: Kirk Cousins threw his second interception of the game earlier, and Texas Tech has since driven the ball inside the MSU 30. Tech went for it on a 4th and 5 and converted, forcing MSU to use the rest of their timeouts. It is currently 3rd and 8 for the Red Raiders, and they can essentially end this game with a conversion. Play of the game coming up next.
2:38 4th Qtr: Well, the defense stopped the 3rd and 8, but the Red Raiders go for it again on fourth down and convert. The game is all but over now, as Baron Batch runs it in from 13 yards out on the next play for a crippling touchdown. Barring an epic comeback from ten points down with no timeouts, MSU will lose their third straight bowl game under Mark Dantonio.
Final Score: Texas Tech 41 Michigan State 31
Aside from the off-field issues, one of the main storylines of the game was Texas Tech’s pass offense versus the MSU secondary. Everything played out as expected, as the Red Raiders threw for 472 yards and three touchdowns. The defense just could not make the stops they needed, and were punished by the spread attack. The Spartans did themselves proud in this game, but they really could have used Dell and Cunningham to help out Cousins in the pass game. That’s all for this live blog, thanks for reading.
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