SpartyMSU.com attended yesterday’s game and that collective groan you heard coming from East Lansing was the fans’ reaction to a real stinker.
Let’s see. . . Riley Bullough didn’t play. Didn’t matter. The way things were going even Superman couldn’t have helped us. The offense managed to provide three interceptions, one fumble that was returned for a touchdown, a muffed snap by the center and the punter deep in MSU territory.
What was a beautiful day for football in East Lansing (it could have been)! Mike Sadler’s Number 3 was emblazoned on the 50-yard-line. Tom Izzo and countless other athletes and coaches were honored at half-time by being enshrined into the MSU Hall of Fame. The Freep also reports that Izzo will have a new wing at the Breslin Center named after him. All of this great stuff couldn’t take my mind off of what I was seeing. Our beloved Spartans laid an egg.
I’ve never believed there is one, or even a handful of players, who lose a game. This game supports that position. The O-line wasn’t able to open the holes for the Running Game (let’s face it, the running game is LJ Scott). Having Scott run 90% of the running plays might be something the coaches want to reconsider. Scott is really good, but he isn’t Barry Sanders. Tyler O’Connor was sacked four times. He isn’t the fleetest of foot, but four sacks. . . Really? When Tyler had time, the throws weren’t very good. On one play, instead of hitting the open receiver, O’Connor’s pass hit the helmet of the Wisconsin defender who was beaten on the play. Incomplete pass. O’Connor finished 18-38 for 224 yards, 3 interceptions (yeah, I know I said that already) and 0 touchdowns.
Spartans’ fans are accustomed to the solid play at quarterback by Connor Cook. If you recall, Cook took over for Andrew Maxwell, another senior who struggled when he got his chance. O’Connor has stuck with the program and it is his turn at quarterback. But, another game like this one, and Spartan fans will expect a change. There is another highly touted freshman from Arizona, Brian Lewerke, waiting in the wings. Some of the coaches compare him to Kirk Cousins. If he is as heady as Cousins was, good for him. And, good for MSU’s future. No one can question the success of Cousins. What is especially interesting is that Cousins wasn’t as highly recruited as Maxwell when both were in high school. O’Connor had many accolades coming out of high school. His story of waiting for his turn and not giving up is a good story and I hope it turns out well for him. MSU fans are counting on it!
On defense, I can honestly say I don’t know what happened. Riley didn’t play. Malik McDowell’s name wasn’t called over the PA very often. Sure he was double-teamed all day. Another fan reminded me that William Gholston and Shalique Calhoun were regularly double-teamed and both had stellar careers on MSU’s D-line. Wisconsin converted 7 out of 15 third down plays and were also 2 for 2 on fourth down. The redshirt freshman quarterback- yeah that’s right- for Wisconsin looked good. There wasn’t much pressure on him, but he made all of the throws. Another fan mentioned he “dropped that one in there” several times. Excellent touch by Alex Hornibrook. But it’s still a little early to say for sure how good Alex will be. Alex was 16 for 26 for 195 yards and 1 interception yesterday. If he plays well against the Weasels next week, he’s the real deal.
Wisconsin 30 (20 points resulting from MSU turnovers)
MSU (two measly field goals)
Next week the Spartans travel to Indiana. Indiana like to move quickly. It’s always fun to watch the no-huddle offense. Hopefully the Spartan Defense rebounds and the coaches make some adjustments on offense. Tyler O’Connor has plenty of talent, but he needs to be successful early. Another fan suggested that the coaches re-introduce a screen pass that former QB Bill Burk ran so well. Bill would fake the run into the line and roll to his left and throw a screen pass to the Tight End. It’s a safe pass and the Tight End is usually a tough guy to tackle. Just a suggestion. . .
Go Green! Go White!