12 men on the field penalty dooms No. 18 Michigan State in 10-7 loss to Arizona State

Michigan State’s offense didn’t do much. Its defense had its worst drive of the day at an inopportune time. And the special teams committed a massive blunder.

Matt Coghlin missed a game-tying 47-yard field goal as time expired that would have sent the Spartans’ game Saturday against Arizona State into overtime. Coghlin’s dreadful miss came after he absolutely drilled a 42-yard field goal that had seemingly sent the game to OT

Instead, Michigan State had 12 men on the field during Coghlin’s first kick.

The penalty was called after a replay review. When Coghlin’s second kick was wide Arizona State escaped with a 10-7 win. Though maybe he should have gotten a third try.

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Arizona State players jumped in an attempt to block the field goal in a possible violation of the rule against leaping and using leverage to block a kick. Unlike the 12 men on the field penalty, leaping has to be called on the field and can’t be reviewable. It wasn’t called on the field.

The game’s winning TD came courtesy of RB Eno Benjamin, who reached for the goal line with 50 seconds left to set up Michigan State’s final drive of the game.

That touchdown came as Michigan State’s defense seemingly had no idea that Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels was allowed to scramble. Daniels had three scrambles in four plays — including a 15-yard jaunt to convert a fourth down — to set up Benjamin’s touchdown.


They all came as Michigan State’s defense had dropped deep to prevent a touchdown while leaving plenty of open space underneath for Daniels to run into.

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 14: Khaylan Kearse-Thomas #20 and Tyler Johnson #41 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrate after a missed field goal by the Michigan State Spartans in the first half of the game at Spartan Stadium on September 14, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Arizona State hung on for a 10-7 win after a bad Michigan State penalty. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Michigan State offense struggles ... again

The Spartans trailed 3-0 at halftime and didn’t score a TD until almost halfway through the fourth quarter when Elijah Collins scored on a nine-yard run with just over eight minutes to go in the game.

That was the best moment of the game for Michigan State’s rushing game. The Spartans finished the game with 35 carries for 113 yards and Collins averaged fewer than four yards a carry.

The connection between QB Brian Lewerke and WR Darrell Stewart is fantastic — and clearly the best facet of the offense. Stewart had nine catches for 121 yards. But the offense had to settle for field goal attempts twice before the final drive. And Coghlin missed both of those as well.


MSU has a defense that’s capable of winning the Big Ten East. But the offense may end up making any hopes of winning the division moot.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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