IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Some quick notes at the end of the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium, where it has been mostly Michigan State so far.
Michigan State made a statement on its opening possession, marching 64 yards in eight plays. After recording only 101 rush yards in its Oct. 29 loss to Nebraska, Michigan State immediately established its ground game with Le'Veon Bell and eventually Edwin Baker. Bell's 9-yard gain up the middle on the first play from scrimmage was a very good sign. The run game allowed Michigan State to set up its play-action pass, and Kirk Cousins made an easy touchdown toss to B.J. Cunningham. Baker also made a terrific touchdown grab moments later.
The Spartans are simply making way more plays on both sides of the ball than Iowa. Cornerback Johnny Adams had a terrific interception, showing great concentration on a sideline fade pass to Keenan Davis.
Iowa finally showed some signs of life at the end of the quarter. First, the Hawkeyes pressured Cousins to force a punt. Then, the offense moved the ball downfield, thanks to a brilliant one-handed grab from senior wideout Marvin McNutt. Coordinator Ken O'Keefe made some excellent calls on the drive, as Iowa faces third-and-2 from the Michigan State 8 to begin the second quarter.
On the injury front, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard suffered a left leg injury and needed to be helped off the field.