Michigan State wide receiver Monty Madaris had a tough night Saturday in the Spartans’ 28-17 loss at Maryland. The fifth-year senior lost a fumble at the Maryland 5-yard line early in the third quarter when the score was tied, 14-14, and he was also called twice for offensive pass interference when officials said he set illegal picks to free other receivers up for catches.
Head coach Mark Dantonio wasn’t a fan of the calls Saturday night, and he still wasn’t convinced Sunday after reviewing the game on video.
“Go for it on fourth down on the third series, and we have an offensive P.I. call, which is difficult for me to distinguish, I guess,” said Dantonio about the first call against Madaris during his Sunday night conference call with local writers. “That would be the political way, I guess, to talk about it.”
Instead of a 7-yard completion from redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke to senior wide receiver R.J. Shelton for a first down at the Maryland 21, Michigan State was forced to punt on fourth down trailing 8-0 in the first quarter. The second call against Madaris came in the fourth quarter after Maryland had taken a 21-17 lead. The Spartans had a second-and-10 at their own 49 when Lewerke found running back LJ Scott all alone in the right flat that went for a 16-yard gain to the Maryland 35. Officials said Madaris impeded the defender’s chance to cover Scott when he stopped about five yards past the line of scrimmage and turned to catch a possible pass.
“We have another offensive P.I. call, which again needs to be explained, I guess,” Dantonio said.
Michigan State ended up punting on the series. Maryland scored what proved to be the game-clinching touchdown on its next possession.
Shelton said in his post-game comments Saturday that Madaris seemed to do exactly what he has been taught to do on those routes, particularly the second one.
“We’re taught you get up field and you have perpendicular shoulders going straight and you should be good,” Shelton said. “I heard that he might have been blocking or he might have been held up, but I thought it was a good play.”