SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Michigan State couldn't get out of its own way against No. 22 Notre Dame and didn't get any help from the Big Ten officials.
The Spartans (3-1) were called for 10 penalties for 115 yards, including four pass interference calls — two of which were questionable — and threw an interception on a trick play that shifted momentum Notre Dame's way in a 17-13 loss on Saturday.
Despite all that, though, the Spartans had a chance to tie the game when Connor Cook threw a 19-yard pass to Bennie Fowler as they drove to the Notre Dame 14-yard-line. But the fourth-quarter drive stalled, and Michigan State had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Michael Geiger. The Spartans managed just one touchdown in four attempts inside the Notre Dame red zone.
"You've got to score touchdowns in those situations," he said.
Dantonio said he couldn't ever recall so many defensive pass interference calls in one game.
"I've been coaching 30-plus years, no. Never," he said. "I guess that's where we should stop."
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he wasn't surprised by the calls because of the number of long passes the Irish (3-1) attempted.
"When you know the quarterback is going to throw it back shoulder, and the defensive back doesn't know where it is, you have an advantage in that situation," he said. "You're going to get some pass interference calls when you put the ball in a good position."
The costliest mistake, though, likely was the interception thrown by receiver R.J. Shelton as the Spartans tried to catch the Irish defense sleeping. But Shelton threw into double coverage and safety Matthias Farley picked it off.
Dantonio said the play call was his.
"I felt," he said, "like we needed a big play."
Michigan State receiver Macgarrett Kings, who had a 7-yard TD catch, said the Spartans didn't make the plays they needed.
"No matter who's in," he said, "we just don't make plays on the ball."
The Spartans were called for two pass interference calls on the ensuing drive, allowing Notre Dame to maintain possession. The Irish, who continually passed — even on short running situations — scored moments later when Notre Dame appeared to surprise the Spartans with a call. Cam McDaniel raced into the end zone to take the 17-10 lead with 14:44 left to play.