September 30, 2006
East Lansing, MI
It was cold and the rain was nothing more then a slight drizzle (nothing like last week) but Spartan Stadium was far from full when kickoff came.Â Even the Grand Marshall of homecoming Kermit the Frog couldnâ€™t get the fans in a furry and the Spartans and Illini came out flat.Â In fact MSU didnâ€™t even score and that was a field goad with 2:30 left in the first quarter.Â The MSU fans base is experiencing fatigue as they continue to be charged exorbitant prices in proportion to what they are getting and unlike last week were it was colder and the rain was a monsoon, this week even with homecoming they just decided to stay home.
Maybe the MSU defense did also as the Illini got a big play and with 12:09 left it was a 69-yard TD pass and with the successful PAT, the game was now 7-3 with the Illini in the lead.Â The crowd was silent and stunned.Â Fatigue or not from the Notre Dame game, the Spartans were flat and seemed almost disinterested.Â That is a direct reflection on the coaching staff.
Disinterested was the word as the Illini marched down the field thinking they were head coach Ron Zookâ€™s former Florida team and with 1:12 left in the first, the drive was 66-yards over 14 plays and the Spartans appeared to want to go home and play playstation rather then be here.
The Spartans left the field with a chorus of Boos raining down from the sacred cathedral.Â Â The fleeced fans let the team know but more importantly the administration sitting high above them in the multi-million dollar press and luxury box that they have had enough.Â It is time for the MSU football to move in the right direction.Â Who knows if they get the message?Â Some will misconstrue that as a slam on John L. Smith and they would be wrong.Â This was an issue about a great group of fans; the MSU faithful who have bought, paid and given and continually get nothing back.Â John L. is responsible for on the field issues and there is no reason why Chris Smeland still works here but what about all the money that these great people have given in such a terrible economy.Â They were told if they paid PSLâ€™s that MSU would be competitive.Â There not.Â They were told higher prices would bring better results.Â It hasnâ€™t.Â It isnâ€™t John L. Smith fault what he makes, in fact who can blame him?Â However with burdening him with that and the huge salaries of this staff, and putting the load on the fans with promises of improvement then it is the administrations fault, it bought something that hasnâ€™t worked.Â Sure the fans will blame JLS, but they shouldnâ€™t forget who sold them the package.Â The season isnâ€™t over and neither is this game.Â I am writing this at half time and do expect Msu to rebound and win but that isnâ€™t the issue.Â Regardless of how the game turns out the fans deserve better then this and the blame starts with the administration, not just the staff.
The MSU defense responded when the MSU offense failed and DeMond Williams got a 62-yard interception return for a TD and with the PAT the score was tied 10-10 but the Illini again came back right down the field shredding the defense of the Spartans to quickly take back the lead 17-10 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.Â The Illini sadly were not done.Â They again stopped MSU and marched right back down the field again for another field goal and the 20-10 lead.
With 13:55 left on the fourth quarter MSU faced a fourth and one and when MSU lined up for the punt the chorus of Boos was so loud that MSU took a time out and decided to go for it.Â They were correct and got the first on a nice pass play.Â Would that give them some momentum to turn this game around?Â Well the drive stalled but so did the next Illini drive.Â MSU however got the ball back and Stanton showed some fire.
You could see Drew imploring his teammates in the huddle and MSU got the ball at the Illini 27 and moved the ball, but the quickly hurt themselves with a stupid penalty and they had a second and ten at the fifteen and needing a touchdown.Â Stanton was injured on the next play and Brian Hoyer came in and threw a 14-yard strike to Davis and Jehuu followed it up with a 1-yard TD run.Â That made the game 20-17 Illini with 6:42 left in the game as they took Stanton to the locker room.
The Spartans were able however to tie the game, but the Spartans let the Illini march down the field and score a game winning field goal and that was it.Â Signs in the stand read â€œanyone know Mariucciâ€™s phone numberâ€ and the crowd was stunned.Â The lowly Illini had come into our house and won.Â
After the game John L. Smith got testy with me as I asked him:Â â€œon Monday you said that this game would tell you about the character of the coachesâ€ and his response was to basically blow me off.Â When asked about the situation he said a statement that shocked all of the press when he said ala Bobby Williams:Â â€œI have no answers.â€Â
Well Coach I got some but they will wait for Monday.Â That said this was a loss that shouldnâ€™t have happened and is a joke.Â This was a pathetic display of football, if you can call it that.
Coaches: F what a joke!
Offense:Â F 13 offensive points against Illinois, what a joke!
Defense:Â F gave up 20 points to a terrible Illinois team, WHAT A JOKE!
Get the hint!Â
WHAT A JOKE!