i was at this game and I can say it was a beautiful 78-degrees with blue skies and a slight wind. Campus looked awesome, everyone was pumped-up and having fun and the new stadium addition was very impressive. We walked from our hotel on Trowbridge to downtown, had a late breakfast, hit SBS and then had a Blood Mary at a bar to kill some time until kick-off. Around 11:30 we walked over to the stadium, snapped a photo with the Sparty statue, saw the other sparty on the back of a golf-cart looking vehicle and then went in to the stadium. Our seats were 15 rows up from the grass and on about the 40-yard line. Oh, and who is sitting two rows down and two seats over? Drew Stanton and his family. That was awesome. His Mom (I;m guessing) had on a vintage Spartan hat with “Just Drew It.” embroidered on the back. Not sure how Nike would feel about that but it cracked me up. I guess what I’m saying is, everything was just about perfect.
The game stayed right on script too. The Spartans came out dominate and never lost control the entire game. I didn’t expect a real challenge from the Cowboys but we knew they were better than EMU and they had given Oregon a bit of trouble. Mainly, I didn’t want to get caught napping. We didn’t.
It was an excellent showing from the offense with 533 total yards, 195 passing and 338 rushing. What? Yep, State ran the hell out of the ball. That’s two weeks in a row with rushing about doubling passing. Very old-school Spartan football, and I love it. Also, no turn-overs, which I also love.
Three QBs saw action with Connor Cook going eight for 12 for 126 yards and two TDs, Damien Terry looked very good going six for six for 56 yards and Tyler O’Connor was perfect also going two for two for 13 yards and a TD. I’m really happy to see Cook playing so well and O’Connor and Terry looking good while getting some quality game reps too.
The Spartan QBs spread the ball around once again with nine receivers hauling in 16 receptions. Tony Lippett is off to a great start this year and Saturday was much the same with four catches for 76 yards and a TD. Josiah Price and Keith Mumphery each had a TD reception. No Macgarrett Kings or DeAnthony Arnett this week which is a bummer, I really want to see those guys making plays.
On the ground it was all Pound Green Pound with 52 carries for 338 yards. Jeremy Langford is back in form with 16 carries for 137 yards and a TD. Nick Hill continues to impress with his hard, fast running and excellent vision and cutting ability. Hill had 10 carries for 71 yards. Delton Williams saw some quality game action with nine carries for 34 yards and a TD. Mumphery showed his versatility by rushing three times for 46 yards and a TD as did Cook and O’Connor each with a rushing TD.
With Mumphery getting TDs rushing and receiving, he’s starting to remind me of Keshawn Martin a little bit. Is K-Mum the next K-Mart maybe?
The Spartan defense is not yet where it was last year, or even where last year’s defense was after four games I think. It seems like the communication and team experience is just not quite there yet. Case in point was Wyoming’s 57-yard rushing TD. This was a straight up the gut running play and the back was never touched. Our line got blown out, the backers were nowhere to be found and by the time our secondary saw what was going on, it was too late. That is just scary. The secondary continues to allow long passes and explosive plays too. Against better competition (Oregon), this is going to be costly. I’m certainly not ready to say the defense is bad or a weakness, but I am saying that there is room for improvement and maybe fewer heart-attack plays per game please.
Overall, the defense did a nice job holding Wyoming to 286 total yards. Besides a few big plays, the Cowboys could not effectively run the ball against MSU as they had 27 attempts for only 98 yards (remember the long of 57 is in there) or an average of only 3.6 YPC. The Cowboys were more effective in the air with 16 completions on 24 attempts for 188 yards. Also, a season-high six sacks which is outstanding. These are good stats, especially when you consider the number of players that were subbed in and out throughout the game.
Marcus Rush, Shalique Calhoun, Riley Bullough and Malik McDowell amongst others had good days and got in on some good plays. Kudos to Darien Harris for one fumble recovery and forcing a second one (which was recovered by Taiwan Jones) and to Kurtis Drummond for a nice pick and 19 yard run, that was beautiful. Let’s have more of that please.
Last but not least, great job by you Calhoun on the blocked FG attempt, that was outstanding.
Michael Geiger was a perfect seven for seven on PATs, and I didn’t even notice it but they snuck Kevin Cronin in to boot a PAT also. No FGs were even attempted by the Spartans. Mike Sadler only punted once, a 43-yarder. RJ Shelton looked outstanding on kick-off returns running back three for 88 yards for an average of 29..3. I really thought he was going to take one to the house, and I bet he does before the year is out.
Another great game by the Spartans. Yes, Wyoming is not a great threat but Michigan State dispatched them properly and without any trauma or distress along the way. Many, many young players got to see some more game time which is money in the bank for the Spartans as the season progresses and we start to see some injuries take players out. Next man up!
Great win, yes. Now it’s time to get really serious as next Saturday’s game is of the utmost importance. Nebraska is undefeated and rolling with a full head of steam. The Huskers are looking good after beating odd-ball rival Miami and Illinois over the last two weeks. Ameer Abdullah is a beast 114 carries for 833 yards and eight TDs. That’s scary. If we can contain the Husker’s big weapons and remain effective against their very good defense, I think we can carry the day. This is going to be an epic battle under the lights in East Lansing. I’m very happy that this game is in East Lansing and not in Lincoln. Epic!