East Lansing, MI – After watching loads of college football this year, I came to one conclusion; the best teams in the nation score points – a lot of them.
It's not a hot take by any means, but seeing teams such as Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Notre Dame left me wide-eyed, whereas Michigan State football made me feel like I was tuning in to an entirely different sport.
Many things led to the demise of Mark Dantonio's career in East Lansing, but maybe none more than not finding the end zone.
As teams began scoring more points, the Spartan offense regressed, averaging 18.0 PPG in Mel Tucker's first year, the school's lowest output in two decades.
2020 was understandably a weird season.
MSU didn't play any non-conference opponents, yet canceled games against Miami, BYU, and Toledo weren't cakewalks for an offense outscored 246-126 in seven Big Ten contests.
Michigan State finished 116th in the nation for its scoring offense, benefiting from just two touchdowns on the ground all year – neither from a running back.
Yet, the fall from grace happened years ago.
In 2014, MSU averaged 43.0 PPG (a program record) but immediately dropped to 29.8 PPG on their way to the College Football Playoff before scoring 24.1 in 2016 (ended with a 3-9 record); then 24.5 in 2017 and an all-time low in the Dantonio era in 2018 (18.7).
It was bad, and a shuffling of staff members in 2019 yielded small improvements to 22.4 PPG.
Dantonio built his program on the backs of tough defense and an offense that controlled time of possession, but a withering offensive line erased any element of a rushing attack and placed far too much pressure on the passing game.
Does Tucker deserve more time? Absolutely; however, even with a pandemic, the national average was nearly 30 points a game (29.2).
Everything needs to be reevaluated, starting at the quarterback position. Rocky Lombardi is gone, meaning the Spartans have another competition between who I assume will be Payton Thorne and Anthony Russo.
From there, a significant overhaul and improvements are needed on the o-line, leading to more production out of the backfield.
And last, but certainly not least, less predictable play-calling.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
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