Michigan State Spartans football team struggles to finish out games

Central Michigan’s Drayton Law, right, catches a pass against Michigan State’s Joe Bachie during the second quarter of their game on Saturday in East Lansing. (AP photo)

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — For a third straight game, Michigan State was outscored in the fourth quarter.
If that worries coach Mark Dantonio, he did a pretty good job hiding it.
Dantonio was generally unruffled after the Spartans beat Central Michigan 31-20 on Saturday. It was a reasonably routine win for Michigan State, but the ending left a lot to be desired. The Spartans were outscored 17-0 in the final period.
Michigan State faltered at the end in a loss at Arizona State and nearly did so again when it played at Indiana, but after beating CMU, Dantonio wasn’t going to panic over his team’s late-game issues.
“I wasn’t concerned about focus, I was concerned about Central, personally,” Dantonio said.
Still, his team appeared to be dozing when CMU recovered an onside kick with the score 31-10 in the fourth. The Chippewas added 10 more points and started putting some pressure on the Spartans. To its credit, Michigan State moved the ball well enough to use up the final 6:44 after CMU pulled within 11.
Against Arizona State, however, the Spartans were up 13-3 going into the fourth and lost 16-13 . They gave up the first 14 points of the fourth against Indiana before holding on for a 35-21 victory.
“I like to say we play with grit, that we somehow find a way,” Dantonio said. “We’ve won a lot of close games here, and we’ll come and we’ll play. But, we have to play better in certain areas, there’s no question about that. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Michigan State moved up a spot to No. 20 in the Top 25. The Spartans host Northwestern on Saturday.