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The State of the Spartans


With Mark Dantonio out the Spartans still find themselves in good shape.  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

With Mark Dantonio out the Spartans still find themselves in good shape. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

As a result of Head Coach Mark Dantonio’s heart attack after last Saturday’s thriller against Notre Dame, Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell will be at the helm for this Saturday’s game versus the University of Northern Colorado. Coach Treadwell is not overlooking the FCS school Bears: “We’re very aware of what they are able to do, in terms of an explosive offense...They are certainly a team that we’re locked into...” Here are some other interesting facts and stats about the Spartans heading into Saturday’s match up:


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  • Coach Treadwell has coached at nine schools, including Michigan State, over his twenty-five year coaching career. He has coached at prestigious schools such as Stanford, Boston College, and Cincinnati (among others) at a variety of positions on the offensive side.
  • Michigan State’s passing defense is a concern for the coaching staff. The defense gave up 369 passing yards and four touchdowns to the Fightin’ Irish. The Spartans are ranked 108th in the FBS in pass defense. Seven of the eight touchdowns allowed this year have been through the air.
  • The bright spot on the defensive side of the ball is the rush defense. The Greg Jones led front seven is holding opposing offenses to 2.41 yards per rush, and 74 yards per game. Overall, the defense is 12th in the FBS and 2nd in the Big Ten in rushing defense.
  • The running game, with backs Edwin Baker and LeVeon Bell, is turning out to be the strength of the team. Between the two of them, they have eight touchdowns (four each), 719 yards, and an 8.35 yards per rush average. The potent rushing attack is averaging 241.67 yards per game, good for 16th in the FBS. Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell had this to say about the dynamic duo: “LeVeon and Baker have been a one-two combination, if you will, right now...Specifically talking about LeVeon, he’s been a pleasant surprise, but not a total surprise.”
  • Quarterback Kirk Cousins looks as if he is in a slump. While he has his good moments, there are also times when he is ineffective. In his press conference, Coach Treadwell expressed that he is not concerned, stating that “his comfort level is much higher [than it was in his sophomore year].”
  • So far this season, special teams have been tremendous. On kickoffs, they have allowed a mere 18.2 yard average, and the punt team is averaging 46 yards per punt. Plus, the field goal team has been clutch - especially in the classic versus Notre Dame last weekend. In addition, there have been no missed field goals all year.