Lots of Positives and Negatives to be Found in MSUâ€™s Victory over Indiana
Lots of positives and negatives to be found in MSUâ€™s victory over Indiana, but let me start with the bad stuff so we can end this piece on a positive note.
I wouldnâ€™t say the defense was horrible, but they werenâ€™t very good at all. No new news there. They got beat twice on a back door cut back runs that went the distance. The first one was a short gainer, and apparently no correction was made because they saw the opportunity to pop it through the same hole again for a long touchdown run. Wiley got burned trying to make a big hit on a pass reception instead of wrapping up the receiver, and quite frankly, I didnâ€™t see a whole lot of improvement over last season against the spread and/or a more diversified offense, even when Kellen Lewis was on the sidelines. If this continues like it did last season, MSU will be lucky to win seven games.
Narduzziâ€™s boys continue to give up touchdowns right after the offense scores and give momentum back to the opposing team. Defense wins championships, and right now the MSU defense is suspect at best. You canâ€™t judge the Spartan defense by the EMU game or by a FAU game that was played in a driving rainstorm. A FAU team by the way that lost the following week to that football power, the Minnesota Golden Gophers by the score of 37-3. The Notre Dame game was also much closer than people want to admit, although the Irish did handle Michigan and Purdue so perhaps not all is loss.
On the plus side, Ringer had another good day and Hoyer was simply outstanding. Yet the guy I though had the best day was Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell. When the Hoosiers were stuffing the run early, he went to the air to keep them off balance and he did a great job. Had he tried to jam the ball down their throats they likely could have lost, especially since Indiana was putting eight guys in the box. Gantt showed again that Kellen Davis wasnâ€™t the only tight end on this roster, and I like the way Celek played as well. The offensive line had some problems at times in their run blocking, but were great as pass blockers, and Ringer still managed 198-yards on the ground, so they did a really good job. Hoyer was so good that he could have had even a bigger game had BJ Cunningham and Blair White along with Mark DellÂ among others hadnâ€™t dropped balls, and even these guys came back and made big catches later.
I donâ€™t buy the excuse that MSU wasnâ€™t ready for Indiana because quite frankly, the same mistakes that were made last year on defense were made today. Not much has changed defensively against better offenses like Cal and Indiana. I know Dantonio doesnâ€™t like to interfere with his coordinators, but he is going to have to get involved and get this straightened out before his tenure gets off course. Yeah, I know itâ€™s a win, but you have to look ahead and not be oblivious by putting your head in the proverbial sand.
Â Â MSU can beat anyone on their schedule, but guess what, they can also lose any game if they donâ€™t start paying attention to detail. The secondary is having breakdowns, the pass rush is pedestrian compared to last year, the punt protection and punt returns need work, and receivers need to hang onto the ball. There are still lots of things for MSU to look at in the coming weeks.