The Spartans still seemed to be stuck in the ruts in the third quarter before grinding out a 14-play scoring drive led by Cook, who replaced Maxwell for the second time in the game. They had their biggest play on a floating pass from Bell to fullback TyQuan Hammock (29 yards), then Cook threw his first career touchdown pass, a 15-yarder to Burbridge on a crossing route that cut TCU's lead to 13-7.
"I thought Connor did a good job on the 90-yard drive, gave us a little momentum," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said.
TCU didn't exactly have its way with Michigan State's defense in the first half and missed some chances to build a bigger lead.
The Frogs started gashing the Spartans for decent-sized chunks with their option midway through the first quarter, setting up Matthew Tucker's 4-yard touchdown on an end-around.
Boykin had an impressive off-the-back-foot throw to freshman Kolby Listenbee for 59 yards on the last play of the first quarter and nearly had a 19-yard touchdown pass to open the second, but LaDarius Brown was bumped and dropped the ball in the end zone. Oberkrom followed with a 47-yard field goal and added another from 31 yards after Boykin hit Josh Boyce on a 61-yard pass to put TCU up 13-0 at halftime.
The Frogs couldn't keep it up in the second half.
With Michigan State clogging the running lanes and chasing Boykin around, TCU had 30 yards of offense in the third quarter and continued to struggle in the fourth. The Horned Frogs did manage the short scoring drive to set up Oberkrom's late field goal, but ended up going backward on their final drive after Conroy's kick.
"What I thought happened in the third quarter was Michigan State dialed up the heat and we didn't have an answer," Patterson said.
Michigan State did — for one of the few times this season.
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