Michigan State 49, Rutgers 0; The Spartans are 3-7, 1-6 in the B1G.

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So this is what a win feels like. It’s been so long I’d kind of forgotten. I’d forgotten how much fun it is watching football when your team plays well and dominates the entire game. I’m so damn happy that the losing streak is finally over. Nice shutout Spartans, I’m proud of you boys.

Some quick highlights and thoughts on the game…

  • Very happy to see a full house at Spartan Stadium. I predicted a poor turnout and I was wrong. Happy to be wrong. Spartans!
  • The line play was very, very much improved and it changed everything. The o-line enabled the running game and protected the QB to ignite the passing game. The d-line stopped the run and pressured the Knights on nearly every play. Kudos linemen, you boys deserve a big ole steak and some cold beers.
  • Tyler O’Connor played with a great sense of purpose going 10 of 15 for 141 yards and three TDs. No picks, no fumbles, no nothin’. Way more like Cousins and Cook, way less like Maxwell. Loved it.
  • LJ Scott, Madre London and Gerald Holmes all ran hard and got the first downs, extra yards after contact, second efforts, and yes, TDs that MSU needed. The Spartans ran for 277 yards on 50 carries with three TDs and no fumbles. So much fun.
  • The receiving corps was on-point as well, especially Josiah Price with with only three receptions for 13 yards, but two TDs. His non-TD catch was a first down, FYI. Nice to see Trishton Jackson make good with two catches for 67 yards and a TD, his first in college. RJ Shelton and Donnie Corley both did their parts and had some nice hauls as well. Dig it.
  • The defense was more Classic Michigan State than we have seen this year. More consistent. More fierce. They just got to the ball more quickly, tackled better and made few mistakes. The Spartans held the Knights to 40 yards passing and 109 yards rushing for a total of 149 yards of offense and no scores. And how about two picks too, one a beautiful pick-six. Slow clap!
  • Special teams were just fine too. Kickoffs were good. Punts were good. There were no FGs, so no worries there. And Geigs made all of his PATs. Cheers.

Nice win Spartans! Now you know what your are capable of. You can dominate. You can win. Yes, it was Rutgers who is the bottom feeder of the B1G, but you dominated them. I’m very happy with the play today.

Next up, Ohio State in East Lansing. The Spartans have beaten Urbz boys more than any other B1G squad and at home on a cold November afternoon, I think they could shock the world and do it again. I’m a believer. I’m not crazy, but I’ve seen crazier things happen. You’ve got to believe. You’ve got to want it more, and you’ve got to fight to get it.

Go GREEN!!!

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Michigan State 27, Illinois 31; The Spartans are 2-7, 0-6 in the B1G.

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This season is just world-class terrible. It’s really got me down. I’ve been sick with some kind of super-cold since Thursday and losing to the Illini on Saturday just set me back and extended my suffering. I honestly feel like I am literally (really, literally) suffering this year. Woe is me.

1982. That was the last time MSU lost seven in a row on their way to a 2-9 season. This is the level of trrrrrble we are dealing with. This is a historically significant trrrrrble season. Embrace it.

But is my optimism, my spirit, my enthusiasm faltering? Hells no. I’m a Spartan goddamit, and I’ll fight for the only colors until the bitter end. I’m the mutherfucker that thinks we can still beat Ohio State. It will be classic, MSU will beat Ohio State, and then Ohio State will beat Michigan. Classic everybody loses scenario. Bet on it. Go GREEN!!!

Enough of my craziness, let’s recap briefly…

  • Ouch, everyone is getting hurt… who’s going to suit up next week?
  • Ouch, everyone is committing penalties… who’s going to shoot themselves in the foot next week?
  • The line play continues to be poor, and it’s not going to change at this point. MSU can’t compete with consistency up front on either side and therefore they face an uphill battle in every game.
  • We are legally no longer allowed to call this a Spartan Defense. The new and preferred term is Michigan State non-offense. Perhaps the staff got lax or maybe it’s a confluence of many factors but no matter how you analyze it, this is a problem.
  • The MSU non-defense had zero sacks, no picks, no fumble recoveries, nothing that would flip the script or shift momentum. They were able to keep both the passing and rushing yards fairly low at 140 and 164 respectively, but that doesn’t mean much when you can’t keep your opponent from scoring.
  • The Spartan offense was inconsistent, able to move the ball methodically for a time and then incapable of anything positive in the blink of an eye. I put in on the o-line, they could not consistently do the job up front.
  • O’Connor started at QB and had okay stats going 23-35 for 265 yards, but no TDs. It’s that last part: No TDs. Cousins could score. Cook could score. Something about O’Connor, he can’t score. He’s got all of the skills and tons of experience, but is apparently lacking the will to create a win. Terry was up and down with flashes of WTF and OMG in equal measure. That scrambling TD pass to RJ was sweet.
  • Gerald Holmes ran with fury. He fought hard for yards and kept churning until he was on the ground. He only rushed for 78 yards and a TD, but the effort was exceptional.
  • RJ Shelton put in a magnificent performance also with seven catches for 80 yards and a TD. There is a ton of fight and a will to win in this guy.
  • And Michael Geiger went four for four on FGs. Nice work Geigs, that’s how you do it.

Next up for the Spartans is the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers in East Lansing. I expect a poor crowd turnout and a very Junior Varsity level game. The Spartans should knock the living tar out of this Knights squad, but who knows this year. Then we wrap up the season with the Buckeyes at home the Nittany Lions on road. Bold statement: MSU wins two of these last three games.

Go GREEN!!!

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Michigan State 23, Michigan 32; The Spartans are 2-6, 0-5 in the B1G.

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Over the course of last week I accepted the fact that the Spartans are having a bad year and the Warbaughrines are having a great year. Once I accepted that reality, I understood that there is no reason getting upset with the inevitable outcome. This doesn’t mean that I gave up on my boys, hardly. Hell, I rooted my ass off and pulled as hard as a fan can pull for them to win. But I didn’t allow myself to get angry or riled-up when UM did something good or a call went there way. Looking back, it was a fun day of football and I didn’t come away in a terrible mood or a week-long funk or any of that over-the-top fan shit.

Well, let’s have a quick look…

  • The offense was almost good enough. Three TDs and a FG was good for 23 points which is more than most against this defense. But three trips inside the 10-yard line with no TDs, plus a missed FG and a missed two-point conversion. Too many points left off the board. Solid almost.
  • Three QBs went 13/28 for 184 yards, two TDs and a pick. O’Connor has his moments but it’s clear that he’s not special. Cousins was special, Maxwell was not. Cook was special. O’Connor is not. But was about Lewerke? More upside than O’Connor, much better scrambler and runner, inconsistent in terms of accuracy, but will benefit from more experience. Are all three of these guys banged up now?
  • Receiver corps did their best  with RJ Shelton, LJ Scott, Josiah Price and Monty Madaris making things happen. Donny Corley changed numbers didn’t he? That was throwing me for a while. Overall, I didn’t really see any dropped passes so good job skill position players.
  • Give it up for LJ Scott and his 139 yards and a TD. Hard, tough running when the blocking was not good, and explosive when the blocking was okay. Nice job Larry. Overall, 42 carries for 217 yards, those are solid rushing numbers against the #1 defense in the land.
  • The defense has been a bigger problem than the offense this year, and although they played better than they have all year, it was still a problem. Michigan threw for 244 yards (no TDs) and ran for 192 yards and three TDs. Amara Darboh had a great day with eight catches for 165 yards, and half of those were amazing hauls in tight coverage. I’m happy to see him ship out to the NFL.
  • Fucking Jabril Peppers, I kind of hate that dude. Yes, he’s a freak athlete of the rarest kind. I do feel like the Spartans did a good job minimizing his impact. He was a serious threat throughout the game but he wasn’t a game-changer like Darboh. Anyway, go pro Peppers, we don’t need to see you again next year.
  • Apparently the Spartan fans were chanting “Fuck Jim Harbarugh”. I don’t agree with chanting that but I do agree with the thought. Not very classy but it clearly expresses the way I feel about Harbs. His new glasses look ridiculous on him, he can’t pull that look off. Harbaugh is not cool, has never been cool and will never be cool, so why try and pull off “cool” glasses? And good Lord, get them adjusted so you don’t have to keep pushing them up index finger to bridge of the frames every few minutes like a total spaz. From his Evil Dead jaw to his yellow teeth to his pleated then not-pleated khakis to his cleats to his Faux Bo hat and sweater, he’s just a

    characteture. He’s a good coach but he’s also a total clown. Mark my words, he either leaves for the NFL or he leaves Michigan in disgrace within five years.

  • Last point, why the two point conversion. Totally puzzling. There is no time left so this doesn’t really matter, but if mathematically there is still a chance, you need to do everything possible to win, right? So, with one second left MSU is down by seven and has a PAT attempt before kicking off to UM. If they make a kick, the lead drops to six. If they make the two-pointer, it drops to five. Either way, you need a TD on the kickoff and a PAT for the win for the former. So why go for two? It does nothing except having a lower success percentage meaning there is a higher chance that the Spartans don’t make it and now we need a TD and PAT just to tie, all off of the kickoff. Of course, it all backfired when MSU fumbled the pitch and Peppers ran it back for a two-point score. Someone explain this one to me, please.

Okay, Michigan week is behind us, Paul Bunyan is living in Ann Arbaugh for the year (sorry Paul) and Michigan fans get bragging rights for a year. Done and done.

Oh yeah, thanks for wearing the green pants, the all green is my favorite uniform combo.

Looking ahead the Spartans travel to Illinois next week for a Noon game. Officially, they need to win out to become bowl eligible. It’s possible but not probable. I do want a win next week and the following week vs. Rutgers. Bases on how MSU played this week, there is no reason why they can’t put away these two squads, but if you look at the record you could say it’s anybodies ballgame. And who is going to be under center?

Go GREEN!!!

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Michigan Week.

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Hey, you. Yeah, you. It’s Michigan week.

Are you fired up?

It’s easy to stand proud when your team is nationally ranked and winning all of the time. And we’ve enjoyed that stature recently, but this year is not that. Far from it.

Now is the time to show your true colors, the only colors. Now is the time to be a Spartan.

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s in Michigan, most kids were Michigan fans. Those kids made the choice to be Michigan fans because it was popular, and Michigan was popular because they won. Hell, they’ve won more football games than any other college football team. I get it. I get it, it was safe, it was popular, hell it was downright expected. It was simply not for me.

Maybe 1% actually attended the UofM, but that’s okay. Yes, there is something distinctly sad about a person who roots for the University of Michigan but attended Central Michigan or Albion or Northwood or Oakland Community College. Next time you see a Michigan fan all decked out, ask them where they attended college. You’ll be shocked. The answer is almost never Michigan. They get a little angry too. No one like being called out.

Michigan alum and students, you earned the right to be Michigan fans. Good on you. No ill will from me. You got in, did the work, paid the price and earned it. Sing that fight song loud. For those of you who have parents that graduated from Michigan, you get a pass too, I guess, but your still kind of sad. Come on, live your own life, make up your own mind, step up.

Because most Michigan fans are really just poseurs clinging to the maize and blue in a desperate attempt at unfulfilled pre-teen security or popularity, they end up lacking any real depth in terms of support for their team. They shrink and cease to exist when the going gets tough. Between the RichRod and Hoke debacles, they were very quiet. But now Harbaugh is here and everyone is hailing their victors and building cases to hold national championship trophies. The fans are louder and more arrogant as if to make up for lost time.

Spartans, let’s not be like that. Let’s keep it level. Let’s enjoy the winning years with enthusiasm and joy, but let’s stand behind our school in the lean years with pride and support. Let’s never shrink. Let’s never blow hard. Let’s never be like, well, Michigan.

Michigan State is 2-5, 0-4 in the B1G. This is as down of a down year as you can have without being winless. We did beat Notre Dame, but that isn’t worth all that much this year. And yet I still hold hope and optimism that we can beat Michigan.

We’ve won with inferior teams before. We’ve spoiled their perfect records before. We’ve got problems and we’ve got issues, but we’ve also got talent and we’ve got passion. We have 75,000 Spartan fans in Spartan Stadium and hundreds of thousand Spartan fans around the country. Real fans. Honest fans. Spartans.

I hope the guys fly out of the tunnel on Saturday. I hope they are barely able to stand still on the side lines. I hope they have a little blood in the eye as they take the field in the second half. It won’t be easy, but that’s why it’s worthwhile.

It wasn’t easy being a Michigan State fan all those years of my youth, but that is why it was worthwhile.

Go GREEN!!! Beat Michigan.

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Michigan State 17, Maryland 28; The Spartans are 2-5, 0-4 in the B1G.

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That’s five games in a row. The last time MSU had five losses in a row was 1991. That was 25 years ago. I remember what those days feel like so this is bad but not unprecedented. For those younger Spartan fans, this is probably devastating. Don’t worry, this season will end and new, better seasons will come. Remember that sometimes your faith is rewarded (last ten years for the most part) and sometimes your faith is test (my entire youth). Just so you know, this is the test part and yes, it’s way less fun than the reward part.

So, about that game…

  • Riley Bullough, love the passion but please don’t completely disconnect your brain. 45 yards of personal fouls and a targeting ejection all in the first 11 minutes. Now you know where the line is. Get right up to the line but try not to cross the line next versus the Warbaughrines.
  • Cook hurt is foot is the deal? That stinks. Lewerke isn’t bad but certainly wasn’t great either. He botched some critical throws to open receivers and ended up 11/24 for 156 yards and a pick. I will say this, he’s sneaky fast when running the ball. He picked up 79 yards on the ground.
  • LJ Scott reappeared after being invisible in the last two games. Scott had 20 carries for 128 yards and a TD. The o-line was on and off, but when they were even kind of on, the running game was on too. Also, on his 48-yard TD run (awesome), the line opened no hole and Scott slid around to pick up some yardage. Maybe that was schemed that way or maybe LJ is tired of running in to a wall of blockers. I’ve been begging for a running back to improvise and find some running room instead of just sprinting headfirst in to a moshpit of big-uglies.
  • Only three receivers came away with receptions: Shelton, Lyles and Madaris. Madaris fumbled on his so we shouldn’t ever really count it. Is this a Lewerke thing, that he can only find a few guys? Or was it just the way it worked out?
  • Maryland was very beat-able. The cold hard fact is that Michigan State is much more beat-able.
  • Miss opportunities in the form of red zone turn-overs, inconsistent line play, dropped coverage, dumb penalties and a few questionable calls not going our way all adds up to a loss.
  • Play calling was okay. I know folks are going to harp on fake FG attempt right before the half. I’ve always said you’re a genius when they work and an idiot when they don’t. Dantonio was looking for a spark and a successful trick play would have been just that. But it wasn’t.

So, let’s all face the light and just cal this season lost. There will be no bowl this year and that streak is over. But it will all be okay if we can just do one thing. The Spartans can beat the Wolverines. They can. They’ve done it with worst MSU teams against better Michigan teams. It’s will, it’s anger, it’s passion, it’s sheer force that can carry the day. We will know where MSU’s head is at by the way they come out of the tunnel and how pumped they are on the sidelines. If they are whipped up in fearsome pogo of energy, well then by God they can win.

Hey, how about busting out the green pants. Just for me.

Beat Michigan and all is well in the world.

Go GREEN!!!

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Michigan State 40, Northwestern 54; The Spartans are 2-4, 0-3 in the B1G.

Kill me now. This season brings me back to my childhood in the 70s and 80s when the Spartans were mostly bad and could lose most any game. They also could beat a #1 ranked Ohio State or Michigan team just by sheer will, anger and adrenaline. Those were crazy times and it was tough being a Spartan fan surrounded by Wolverine fans and Buckeye fans not to mention Irish fans. Yes, I know this feeling. I haven’t felt it in long while. Maybe, in the end, it’s good that this is happening. Some kind of character building dealio, but the fall is painful as hell.

Michigan State lost to Northwestern on a beautiful October afternoon; homecoming no less. If you put 40 points on the Wildcats, you should win that game handily. The Spartans lost by two scores. That brings me to my first and biggest point:

  • This is by far the worst Spartan defense we have seen in over a decade. This is the most points the Spartans have allowed since 2003. The defense couldn’t get off the field allowing the Wildcats over 35-minutes of possession and 26 first downs.
  • Northwestern threw for 281 yards and three TDs, and ran for 209 yards and three TDs with only one turnover (a gorgeous pick-six I’ll add). They won the battle of front on most plays which allowed their skill players to do what they do effectively. MSU couldn’t shut down the run and they couldn’t shut down the pass either.
  • Michigan State’s offense was one-dimensional with 424 pass yards and four TDs, but only 51 rushing yards and zero TDs. It was great to see Lewerke in action and he came out strong, but then sputtered. It was just the right motivation for O’Connor who played remarkably well going 13/21 for 281 yards, three TDs and one INT.
  • The biggest issue on both sides of the ball is our line play. We are losing the battle in the trenches and it’s not subtle, it’s obvious. The running game is not happening because there are no holes, there is no blocking. The pressure on the Spartan QBs is huge as the Cats had four sacks and six TFLs. On defense, MSU can’t hold the line even with Malik imposing his will up front. One man cannot do it alone. Injuries aren’t helping, that much is obvious. I don’t know if it’s toughness or technique, but it’s bad and it is dooming the Spartans.
  • Special teams allowed a punt return for a TD. That can’t happen. Not only is that points on the board but it’s a huge momentum killer and a mega shot in the arm for the opposing team. Geiger was 2/2 which was nice. Hartbarger looked mostly good. Cronin… what the hell. And Sowards, when you receive a punt, standing in one place and juking left and right is never, ever going to work. Pick the best angle and run your ass off.
  • Penalties, still. Not as bad, but still bad.
  • That’s four losses in a row. Four in a row. That’s never happened to Coach Dantonio before. Ever. This is bad. For real bad.

Next up, a road game at Maryland. The Terps are 4-2 with losses to Penn State and Minnesota and they are better on the ground than in the air. The Spartans will scheme to bottle up the run first and foremost. I’m confident that TO’C will start.

As I said last week and the week before, let’s reset. New expectations are needed. Here is my priority list for the Spartans for 2016:

  1. Beat Michigan
  2. Get bowl eligible
  3. Get a little better each week (especially the O and D lines)

Do these three things and I’ll be a happy Spartan. One more game to get our shit together before we host the Wolverines, so let’s work on #3 or #1 will be impossible.

Go GREEN!!!

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Michigan State 14, BYU 31; The Spartans are 2-3, 0-2 in the B1G.

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That’s three losses in a row. The last time that happened was 2009 and the Spartans ended that season 6-7 with a loss in the Alamo Bowl to Texas Tech. Three losses and we haven’t won a B1G game yet, that’s a rough start if there ever was one.

A few takeaways…

  • The offense is way off the standard MSU offense and I think the key issue is the o-line. Defenses are pressuring the QB on pass plays and our running plays aren’t working because there is rarely a hole to run through.
  • Tyler O’Connor went 7/11 for 58 yards, and was replaced by Damion Terry who went 6/10 for 63 yards. That’s a whopping 13/21 for 121 yards. So much work to be done. Who will play next week? Perhaps both? Lewerke? DeWeaver? Bueller, Bueller?
  • On the ground, the Spartans had 32 carries for 85 yards. I didn’t expect this. If the o-line isn’t able to make holes, I feel like there should be fewer straight ahead running plays. We need to move the chains and Perles-style up the gut running isn’t doing it.
  • The Spartans must be more consistent on defense. The first half looked good with State effective against the run and doing a solid job against the pass. In the second half, tackling became an issue and the d-line started getting pushed around opening up the BYU running attack. Once they established the run, everything fell in to place for BYU and the Spartan defense was more or less on their heels.
  • BYU had 398 yards on offense (almost double the Spartans) and controlled the clock with 34:34 of possession. The Cougars had no turnovers and made 24 first downs to the Spartan’s 13. Yes, they won the game and they fully deserved to as they outplayed the Spartans across the board.
  • Injuries are killing the Spartans.
  • Penalties are killing the Spartans.
  • I’m glad we are done honoring dead Michigan State Alumi, I like our guys alive and healthy. Nothing but love for Sadler and Hicks, but let’s live in a world where our guys stay alive and live long lives.

As I said last week, let’s reset. New expectations are needed. Here is my priority list for the Spartans for 2016:

  1. Beat Michigan
  2. Get bowl eligible
  3. Get a little better each week

Do these three things and I’ll be a happy Spartan. Two more games to get our shit together before we host the Wolverines, so let’s work on #3 or #1 will be impossible.

Go GREEN!!!

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#17 Michigan State 21, Indiana 24; The Spartans are 2-2, 0-2 in the B1G.

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So, yeah. 2016 isn’t going all that well. Kind of feels like 2012 but without all the dropped passes. Doesn’t feel great. Anyway, Indiana played some good ball and they deserve a lot of credit. They fought back from a 14-0 deficit to take a 21-14 lead and then sealed the deal in OT, so good on the Hoosiers. The Spartan offense is so up and down; one moment they are ripping off first down after first down and then they can’t move the ball at all. And the defense sort of fell off in the second half. Where is the consistency? Where is 60 good minutes? It’s official, this is a down year.

A few takeaways…

  • We can’t win the B1G and we can’t make the playoffs, so there’s that.
  • MSU had 438 yards, Indiana had 437. MSU and Indiana each had one turnover. MSU had 21 first downs, Indiana had 19. Things ended up pretty even, and that’s a problem.
  • Tyler O’Connor ended up 21-35 for 263 yards and three TDs, no picks but one fumble. Not bad, actually.
  • Rushing, the Spartans had 41 runs for 175 yards which is just okay. The running was hard and the o-line isn’t dominant.
  • R.J. Shelton crushed it with seven receptions for 141 yards and TD.
  • The targeting call and ejection of Malik was weak. I’m all for protecting players, especially defenseless QBs, but that hit was hard but it was all shoulder. Yes, his head was down and that is the issue, but he didn’t use his head. #4 will be out the first half against BYU and that sucks.
  • Leaping? Really? We all know you can’t do that. Why did Martinez do it? I love the enthusiasm, but play smart.
  • Geiger, 0-2 for FGs? Other than your freshman year, you have been a hot-cold proposition and although you’ve done some good, you have also cost some games.

Okay, let’s reset. New expectations are needed. Here is my priority list for the Spartans for 2016:

  1. Beat Michigan
  2. Get bowl eligible
  3. Get a little better each week

Do these three things and I’ll be a happy Spartan.

Go GREEN!!!

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#12 Michigan State 36, #18 Notre Dame 28 – The Spartans are 2-0.

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With a few exceptions, most TV personalities, experts, sports folks, etc. were saying that the Spartans will come to play hard-hitting, tough, heavy-weight football but the Irish will win. If you look at the week #1 games, I get that. If you look at the last few times MSU played ND, well then I get that too. The Spartans were an eight point dog on the road in South Bend in from of God, Touchdown Jesus, the Catholics and the world on primetime network TV. And they won!

The second quarter was really good, the third quarter was amazing. Yes, the first quarter was not fun and the fourth quarter was tense, but that’s football when two ranked teams with this much history square off.

A few take-aways…

  • Oh, sorry Domers, too soon to use the term “take-away”? My bad. The Irish had an INT, a fumble and they had a botched punt return that resulted in a turn-over. The fumble and botched punt return both resulted in points for the Spartans.
  • ND returned the opening kickoff 100-yards for a TD… oh shit. Thank you to the Irish for a block in the back penalty that killed the TD and brought the ball back to ND’s 10-yard line. Not a great start but we’re okay I think.
  • Tyler O’Connor had a good night going 19 of 26 for 241 yards, a TD and one INT. ToC grew up a huge ND fan in a ND-loving household, so this win must have been something special for him.
  • Donnie Corley knows that when you want something, you have to go out and take it. Rip it away even. Nice TD reception, that’s the way you do it!
  • Also, the Damian Terry insertions don’t really seem to be working. Those plays feel like throw-aways. This needs to be figured out or abandoned.
  • The running game got after it, and busted it loose in the middle quarters. Gerald Holmes had a great game with 13 carries for 100 yards and two TDs, one of which was a sweet 73-yard TD scramble. Great effort there. L.J. Scott ran hard wtih 98 yards on 22 carries and a TD.
  • Overall, the Spartan offense put up 501 yards, 241 in the air and 260 on the ground, and dominated the clock with almost 38 minutes of possesion. This is classic Spartan winning football: balanced offensive attack that eats up the clock. Love it!
  • The Spartan defense shut down the run as ND was only able to get 57 yards rushing. That’s awesome, but the Spartans did allow 344 yards in the air. ND’s Kizer is a hell of QB so I don’t feel too bad about that number.
  • Malik is a beast!
  • Jon Reschke, you are a hero too. You punched out the ball that resulted in a fumble recovery. You picked off Kizer and you were in on plays and tackles all over the field. Great job.
  • The Spartans cleaned up the penalty issues with three for 45 yards (all 15-yarders, ouch) versus 120 yards in week #1. That’s progress.
  • Nice sack for a five yard loss Raequan Williams, that was glorious.
  • I was very happy that ND didn’t go for it on 4th and 7 with less than four minutes on the clock. Kelly had confidence that his defense would get a a three-and-out and he’d have the ball back with two minutes or so left. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
  • It was the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Game of the Century in which MSU and ND were ranked #1 and #2 (or #2 and #1 depending on the poll) in the second to last game of the season. The biggest difference between the two games is at the end of this one, the Spartans were singing Victory for MSU!

The Spartans are 2-0 and they earned a lot of cred by beating a ranked Fighting Irish team in their house in a game they were favored to win. A lot of folks were wrong about MSU, but that’s good. State likes to be underestimated, State likes to be underdawgs, State like to upset ranked teams on the road. It’s all good.

And for Notre Dame, well, their playoff hopes are all but dead. Being 1-2 is not how you get “in”. The ACC tilt they have coming up should give them some wins and improve their standing, but for now I bet they are unranked and unloved.

Next up, Wisconsin at Spartan Stadium. The Badgers are running hot and cold, but they are a good team and it will be a good game as Sparty-Bucky match-ups almost always are. It’s just not the same without Burt there, but it’ll be fun no matter.

Go GREEN!!!

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#12 Michigan State 28, Furman 13 – The Spartans are 1-0.

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I’m not surprised that the Spartans didn’t cover the point spread or totally dominate Furman to point of running the second and third string, it’s simply not something we see all that often, especially in opening games. But I was hoping for little bit more of a comfortable lead and little bit more dominance from the Spartan defense. The bottom line is that the Spartans score one TD per quarter, had the lead the entire game, and without too much concern won their home opener.

Some take-aways:

  • Furman took this game very seriously; they came to win and they played hard. Kudos to the Palidins. Respect.
  • TO’C looked good in his debut as the official starting QB for the Spartans. He went 13/18 for 190 yards, three TDs and one INT. My only real concern is the way he stares down his target receiver. If he continues to lock in on one receiver like that, he is going to get picked time and time again.
  • Penalties, all the time with the penalties. Ten penalties for 120 yards but even worse than the yards were the first downs coming off of penalties. The defense in particular needs to clean it up, especially the pass interference calls (which were the Spartans achilles heal the last time they played the Irish you might recall.) And for God sake, get it together on the dumb shit like late hits and unsportsmanlikes, that is just weak.
  • The defense could not get Furman off of the field. Yes, the Spartans did a good job defending in the red zone but they struggled to stop drives and force punts. Malik McDowell seemed a little out of shape to me, I’m really hoping I’m wrong on that. he just seemed tired and prone to taking plays off. Hell, it’s the first game. My thinking here is the conservative play calling and lack of aggressive rushing was to not show ND too much of what is coming. I hope I’m right there.
  • I’m thinking the offense was holding back somewhat as well. Am I smoking the drapes here? LJ Scott did have a hundred yard game, so that is nice. Monty Madaris showed signs of awesomeness as well. I was loving what I was seeing from Felton Davis III but then he went down awkwardly and I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing him suited up anytime soon.
  • Geiger missed an easy one. Kronin kicked one out of bounds. What the hell? Only Hartbarger looks legit at this point. Why is kicking so troublesome these last few years?

Okay, that is a lot of complaining, but it’s also pretty typical following the first game. MSU has a lot of work to do but it’s all fixable. And they have two weeks to work on it and to focus on the Irish specifically. They are saying that RJ Shelton will be back for Notre Dame which is very good news; that guy seems like the second coming of Keshawn Martin to me. Week #2 is a not-great week for a bye, but the Spartans will make the most of it.

I’ll be watching Notre Dame tonight as they travel to Texas and again next week as they host Nevada. There is some solid hype behind the Irish this year, and even those these two games are not even close to the toughest on their slate, it will be a good test.

Rest up Spartans, and work hard this week on cleaning up the mental errors, correcting the coverage issues and not telegraphing the receiver. And get healthy RJ!

Go GREEN!!!

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