On the first play of the game, the Irish were whistled for a false start. Before Golson -- in the first true road game -- could even get the next snap off, he had to burn a timeout, as he was frantically shuffling his teammates all over the field in a mass of confusion.
But the redshirt freshman quarterback quickly regained his composure, and his control of the offense. He promptly hit T.J. Jones for a 21-yard gain that seemed to settle down the Irish. After the teams traded punts, Golson hit Toma for a 14-yard gain, then threw a beautiful deep ball to senior John Goodman, who beat out two Michigan State defenders in the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown pass.
Golson was far from perfect -- he was nearly picked off three times on the Irish's final drive of the first half, and overthrew both freshman Chris Brown and Jones on what could have been big gains in the first quarter. But he certainly looked sharper, and fared better, than his fellow first-year starter, Michigan State's Andrew Maxwell, who was rattled early and often by the Irish front seven.
Deep impact: On those two big catches in the first two series, Jones and Goodman became the seventh and eighth players to catch a pass of at least 20 yards from Golson this season, in just the ninth quarter of the season.
Personnel matters: Irish outside linebacker Danny Spond returned to the starting lineup after missing the first two games -- and most of training camp -- with the lingering effects of a migraine. With Spond back, Dan Fox moved back inside.
Also, Kona Schwenke started at nose guard ahead of Nix, though Nix was back in for the second series.