I am going to take a lot of heat for this article, but it comes with having an opinion and putting it online for thousands to read. KIRK COUSINS DESERVES AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY BASED UPON HIS PERFORMANCE TODAY. There, I said it everyone. I said what every other Spartan was thinking. I didnâ€™t think â€˜Captain Kirkâ€™ had it in him. I have stuck by Hoyer and truly appreciate his contributions to this team, but Cousins deserves more snaps. Even if Dantonio doesnâ€™t start him, he deserves an opportunity to get under center.
This is what Spartans saw on Saturday. They saw Hoyer miss a couple of open receivers early. He had receivers open downfield when he stepped up in the pocket and threw the ball twice on third and short underneath to Ringer that resulted in punts. After Laurinaitis (OSU middle linebacker) hit Brian hard, he was incapable of moving the offense. After Cousins took MSU down the field and scored, he drove them into the red zone again only to make his first freshman mistake. He failed to see the corner blitz, which resulted in a Cousins fumble and an Ohio State return for a touchdown. Michigan State took the field on the following series and Hoyer could muster little if any movement of the offense.
I want to be very clear about something. This is as much about Cousins playing well as Hoyer playing poorly. I recognize that Brian played a good game last week against Northwestern, but he has not had the season at this point that a fifth year senior needs to win a conference championship. I recognize that Brian has tons of experience and is a leader and a captain. You cannot take this away from him. Ask yourself this question. Where does he rank as a QB in the Big Ten Conference?
Is he better than Michiganâ€™s starters (Threet and Sheridan)? Weâ€™ll find out next week. Is he as good as Ohio Stateâ€™s top two QBâ€™s (Pryor and Boeckman)? He probably isnâ€™t. Is he as good as Kellen Lewis or Ben Chappell at Indiana? How about Juice Williams? Tough to say that he is better than any of those guys right now. Is Brian playing better football than CJ Bacher of Northwestern or Adam Weber of Minnesota? No he certainly isnâ€™t. Is he a better than Penn Stateâ€™s Darryl Clark? Absolutely not. I have Hoyer currently playing better than Joey Elliot and Curtis Painter of Purdue. I think he is better than Ricky Stanzi of Iowa and Allan Evridge of Wisconsin. The way I see it, Hoyer is the seventh or eighth best quarterback in the Big Ten. He may not be the best eligible QB on MSUâ€™s roster.
The schedule stiffened today. Michigan played a much better game against Penn State than I expected. They will play inspired next week. Miscues in the â€˜Big Holeâ€™ early could be a disaster. Michigan is not going bowling this season and would love to screw up MSUâ€™s surge toward state supremacy. You cannot argue that MSUâ€™s offense was much more inspired with Cousins in the game. You cannot argue that Cousins looked poised, calm, collected and ready to play. You cannot argue with a 10 for 10 start against the best defense in the Big Ten Conference. You can argue it, but it will be hard to justify not giving this kid a shot.
Teams are not going to line up and let Ringer run for 200 yards each week. Michiganâ€™s defense can be stout. They have more talent of their defense than we do. Wisconsin certainly has the tools to shut Ringer down and make a QB beat them. Purdueâ€™s defense played well against Ohio State and Penn State is just too stinking tough in the trenches to let Ringer run all over them without a passing game.
This Michigan State team should finish the regular season 9-3. The only acceptable remaining loss on the schedule is Penn State. We are a better team than Michigan, Wisconsin and Purdue. The question every Spartan fan wants to know is if Brian struggles, will Dantonio give Cousins a shot? All the MSU fans that penciled Nichol into the starting lineup for next season (this includes myself) may want to rethink their thought process. Kirk Cousins came in against a stout OSU defense and looked like a cowboy in a gunfight with ice in his veins.