The State of State

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State of the Spartans-

 

           After last week’s atrocious effort at Iowa, the Spartans’ sense of confidence has surely been decimated. Yet, the embarrassing defeat does not spell the end of all hope for the Spartan season. The next three games will determine how Michigan State will be judged- for good or bad. How the team handles the adversity in the next three games, knowing that its national title hopes are dead, will define the team. Coach Dantonio had this to say about the team in the press conference after the game: “I said in February, the reason I thought our team was special- when I said this to them in February- was because we’ve been able to handle adversity, and that needs to take place now.”

 

  • Once again, the team got off to a horrible start against Iowa, and was unable to stop the Hawkeyes on third down early in the game. Thus, Iowa jumped ahead with a couple of early scores, and Michigan State was never able to catch up.
  • For the third straight game, the MSU rushing attack accomplished absolutely nothing. Edwin Baker, LeVeon Bell, Larry Caper, and company gained a paltry thirty-one net yards on twenty attempts. For a team, especially one from the Big Ten, that has two backs as talented as Baker and Bell, the output is ridiculous.
  • Coach Treadwell cannot expect Kirk Cousins to carry the team every week. In the past three games, Captain Kirk had to throw the ball a combined 96 times. More throws equals more opportunities to throw interceptions.
  • Cousins’ season-high three picks really hurt the Spartans. When coming back from a deficit, it is crucial to not commit turnovers, which kill drives and opportunities to score points. It is very tough to win when your quarterback throws three interceptions, two of which came in the first half, thus allowing the Hawkeyes to sprint out to a 23-0 lead.
  • Not having Keyshawn Martin hurt badly. He gives the Coach Treadwell a number of options and forces opposing defenses to pay attention to him. The big play ability of the Spartan offense goes down substantially when Martin is absent.
  • Martin’s value goes far beyond his ability to break out for a long gain- he has often successfully acted as decoy. On more than a few occasions, he has run decoy routes which have helped other wide receivers get open. This small quality the offense helps immensely. K-Mart brings much more to the table than meets the eye. He needs to be back soon for Michigan State to win out.
  • The defense is looking tired on the field. Early on in games, even against Northwestern, the Spartan defense shows signs of fatigue. The players are limping around and look tired out there. The defense isn’t making the tackles it made earlier on in the year, which allows offenses to gain more yards.
  • The Hawkeyes ran the Spartan D into the ground. On forty Iowa carries, the unit allowed 162 yards, an average of 4.05 yards per carry. By pounding the ball, Iowa ate up the clock, preventing a desperate comeback before it could start.
  • Quarterback Ricky Stanzi was incredibly efficient. He only threw the ball sixteen times, but he completed eleven of those passes for 160 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The Spartan secondary needs to tighten up, especially against Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber.

 

Even after the horrific loss to the Hawkeyes, let’s not kid ourselves- the Spartans will have no trouble with Minnesota. The Gophers are a team that was unable to defeat the likes of South Dakota and Northern Illinois. Even though the Spartans are tired and likely decimated after the loss, they should have no trouble against an inferior Minnesota team. 

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