Paraphrasing the coach’s comments after a recent game, the key points are:
- We had a good start and the other team came back.
- Regarding our offense, we don’t have a lot of depth.
- We missed 4 or 5 tackles on defense.
- The QB held the ball too long; we just can’t take the sacks.
- Everyone wants us to fire one of our coaches.
The coach who uttered those sentiments is none other than Pat Fitzgerald, the second most-respected coach in the Big 10. Pat’s teams are competitive; they regularly go to a Bowl Game; and there aren’t distractions like “tattoo-gate” or boosters “interfering” with the program like “buying” favors for recruits. Check out Sports Illustrated for the controversy around Oklahoma State University, its boosters and former Assistant Coach Les Miles. Les will never work at U-M as a result.
This week, it looks like MSU is playing itself. The Northwestern University Wildcats, with its 2-3 record, come to Spartan Stadium hoping to ruin Homecoming. Give NU credit, they beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 38-31 in Iowa City. Running Back Justin Jackson rushed for a season high 171 yards on 26 carries. Jackson was quoted as saying, “That win was good for our psyche. . . We can go toe-to-toe with any team. .” If this isn’t bulletin board material, I don’t know what is. The Wildcats’ victory over Iowa sounds a lot like MSU’s victory over Notre Dame.
Comparisons galore between MSU and NU: MSU QB Tyler O’Connor (TOC) has 78 completions out of 128 passes for 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. NU Quarterback Clayton Thorson has 92 completions out of 169 passes for 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Despite sitting much of the last game, LJ Scott has 70 rushes for 311 yards while Gerald Holmes chipped in with 38 carries for 208 yards. NU has only one productive back in Justin Jackson with a strong 508 yards.
The production from the Wide-Outs is also similar. For MSU, RJ Shelton has 21 catches for 262 yards; Donnie Corley Jr has 16 catches for 237 yards while Monty Madaris (15 for 207) and Josiah Price (14 for 150) also contribute to MSU’s pass attack. For NU, Austin Carr (32 receptions – 465 yards), Flynn Nagel (11 receptions-131 yards) and Garrett Dickerson (10 receptions for 104 yards) create a triple threat for MSU’s “NO FLY ZONE.”
Like MSU, NU fans are puzzled by the kicker’s performance. Both teams’ kickers, Jack Mitchell and Michael Geiger, are only 2 for 5 on field goals in 2016.
Prediction: InsideNU.com says NU can win if:
1. Justin Jackson can beat the Spartan front 7. . . that’s possible.
- Receiver Austin Carr has a good day versus MSU’s top Cornerback, Vayante Copeland. . not likely, Copeland is really good.
Defensive Lineman Ifeadi Odenigho has his way with MSU’s Offensive Line. . also possible.
It’s Homecoming! George says, “Touchdown MSU” three times. MSU 21- NU 20