EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — It took Michigan State until the second half to find the red zone for the first time, but when quarterback Payton Thorne fumbled the opportunity and Minnesota scored on the ensuing drive, MSU fans exited the stadium in droves. 

What happened in East Lansing was something the Spartan fan base hasn’t seen in nearly two years, as the undefeated Gophers handed Michigan State it’s first loss at the Woodshed for the first time since 2020.

“When you’re out there and you see the score and the games pretty much over and it’s kind of dead in the stadium — that’s when it’s the toughest,” said Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker. “That’s when you have to show some character.” 

“All of it clicking at once hasn’t really felt like that,” said Thorne. “I think every time we’re rolling there’s a setback. That’s what it felt like today. Obviously that first drive of the second half we’re rolling, rolling, rolling and then fumble.”

This was the second straight game Michigan State was held to 50 rushing yards or less, and third downs were the difference on both sides of the ball. MSU converted on just two of it’s eight opportunities, while the defense struggled to protect the Gophers’ 500-plus yards, after going 10-for-12 on third down.

“They came out faster than us,” says Michigan State defensive lineman Jacoby Windmon. “We’re a better defense than we went out there and played as, and we just gotta get back to work.” 

Payton Thorne threw for just 132 yards with two interceptions and didn’t get the bounce-back game he hoped for after losing to Washington last week. 

Michigan State hits the road next week to take on Maryland, and need the win to avoid falling below .500 on the season.