Coming into the game all the talk was about two of the top tailbacks in the league, Javon Ringer and Shonn Greene. While Ringer was held to a modest 91 yards, Greene had well over 100 yards and appeared to have the Hawkeyes poised for a huge comeback victory over the Spartans.
When Mark Dantonio looks over the always-confidential injury report on Monday, heâ€™ll know without question MSU was lucky to preserve a win on homecoming. Wiley and Rucker both left the game on Saturday leaving next weekâ€™s game plan against the Wildcats more than up in the air. Among the bruised and battered, MSU middle linebacker Adam Decker stood tall and had the biggest play of the 2008 season. It was one of those plays that will be talked about for many years around the dinner table in the Decker household.
Decker blew through the hole left open by the Iowa offensive line and made a great solo tackle to stop Greene on 4th and 1 deep in Spartan territory. It was a throwback middle backer performance that reminded Spartan fans of a Chuck Bullough type of play.
A week earlier Decker was exposed as a middle linebacker very much out of place against an up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense. Numerous times last weekend, backs and shifty receivers blew by Adam and the result was often a huge play by Indiana. With todayâ€™s game featuring two â€˜dot-the-iâ€™ offenses, it was about old school beat your blocker and put a helmet on the ball. That was exactly what Decker was called to do and it was exactly what he needed to do to preserve a win for his team.
Iowa did what Indiana showed them they should do against MSU, contain Ringer, make Hoyer beat you through the air, make State kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns and run with heavy feet because MSUâ€™s receivers are prone to dropping passes. It will be the game plan everyone uses against MSU until the Spartan receivers learn to hang onto the football and Hoyer doesnâ€™t feel pressed every time his offense needs a third and long big play.
Give Iowa credit, they executed an almost perfect game plan. The turnovers were huge and even bigger were the points that Ferentz left on the field when he challenged the Spartan defense on two occasions on 4th down. Both 4th down plays went against Iowa while the MSU defense lead by Adam Decker closed the door on a beautiful homecoming day in East Lansing.
Next weekâ€™s game against the Wildcats will be a real test for the MSU defense. One can assume that the Spartan defense will be a little short handed in the secondary next week against Northwestern. A Spartan victory next week would be big. I circled the NW game on the schedule before the season started. Enjoy the weekend Spartan fans; Adam Decker preserved your football happiness.