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Three Up, Three Down: Michigan State demolishes Akron, improves to 2-0

The Spartans had no trouble with the Zips in East Lansing

Michigan State football improved to 2-0 on the young season with a lop-sided 52-0 victory over Akron on Saturday evening.

The Spartans were dominate in their rushing attack, as the two-headed monster of Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard each had big days for MSU. On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan State was sound throughout the day and finished the game with five sacks and nine tackles for loss in an impressive performance.

Here are three positive and three negative takeaways from the Spartans' win:

Three Up

1.) Michigan State defense forces 4 turnovers in shutout

Akron was able to move the ball down the field early in the game, but Michigan State's defense was opportunistic when the Zips got loose with the football. The Spartans forced and recovered four Akron fumbles and MSU scored touchdowns on each subsequent drive.

With the Spartans' offense still finding its footing a bit to start the season, the defense up them in great spots all day long on Saturday. Mel Tucker and Scottie Hazelton have to like the amount of turnovers the Spartans have forced early this year.

Michigan State pitched a shutout on defense as well, which you always love to see.

2.) MSU churns up yards in run game

The biggest question mark for most Michigan State fans and observers was how the Spartans would replace Kenneth Walker III.

Through the first two weeks of the season, MSU's ground game has answered the bell. The Spartans had six rushing touchdowns against Akron on Saturday, as the MSU offensive line pushed the Zips up and down the field all afternoon.

Jalen Berger has 107 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, while Jarek Broussard added 81 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Late in the third quarter, Elijah Collins got in on the action too, and he finished with 57 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

As a team, Michigan State ran for 260 yards on 48 carries, good enough for 5.4 yards per carry. No Kenneth Walker, no problem so far for the Spartans.

3.) Noah Kim gets valuable snaps

Michigan State needed to take care of business early in this one to give backup quarterback Noah Kim some meaningful college snaps, and that's exactly what the Spartans did.

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Kim only got to throw the ball two times, but he threw a strike of a touchdown pass in the third quarter when starter Payton Thorne missed a series due to minor injury. It was Kim's first touchdown pass of his career.

While he was mostly regulated to just handing the ball off, it was still important to get Kim out there on the field, and he looked liked he belonged out there.

Even third-stringer Katin Houser got in there for his first collegiate snaps. That was nice to see as well.

Three Down

1.) OC Jay Johnson too pass-happy?

Look, these early games are about finding out what you have as coaches. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson is an aggressive play-caller and its clear he wants to build chemistry between Thorne and this receivers corps.

However, this was the second consecutive week that Michigan State was getting pretty much whatever it wanted out of the run game, and it seemed like Johnson went away from the run a little too much in the first half.

As mentioned above, the Spartans began relying on that run game and pushed Akron all over the field in the second half. I just would have liked to see Johnson go to it more on those early first half drives.

2.) Payton Thorne still not sharp

Through two weeks, we haven't seen the Payton Thorne that we all expected to see to start the year. The redshirt junior was more accurate this week, completing 18-of-28 attempts for 212 yards.

However, Thorne threw two interceptions — he was pressured both times — and missed some throws that we're used to seeing him make. He missed Jayden Reed early in the game on a back-shoulder throw, and also missed some throws high, just like last week.

We're no where close to panic time with Thorne — not even entertaining that. But, Michigan State will need him to raise his game as the schedule begins to get tougher in these next couple weeks.

3.) Jayden Reed leaves game early

Late in the first half, Reed made a reception took a hit along the sidelines, and the senior did not return to the game.

Reed was still dressed when he came out of the locker room after halftime, and it appears he could have returned had the Spartans needed him to play. With the game well in hand, I think Michigan State was just being smart and cautious with its top receiver.

With that said, Reed missed a little bit of time in fall camp, and the Spartans have had some bad injury luck already this season. Whatever is bringing this bad mojo to East Lansing needs to leave town in a hurry...