Observations on the Spartans
The Spartan offense made the WMU defense look like the Spartan defense.
They had better hope their defense averages 14+ points per game or this season might get ugly.
In all seriousness though, at this point they are better off rolling the dice with one of their young quarterbacks because Maxwell clearly hasn't gotten any better and Cook looked totally lost.
Someone also needs to check and see that their receivers are wearing actual wide out gloves. I think they might have snagged a bunch of wool mittens by mistake.
The silver lining in all of this is that their punter is certainly going to be one well oiled machine.
I didn't get to watch the game, but judging by the boxscore, the offense is abysmal, and possibly worse than last year. The Sparty defense made some great plays, but giving up 2 TD's to a 4-8 MAC team in a close game is not stellar.
I just rewatched last year's M vs. MSU game and if you take away their fake punt, their broken play that led to a TD (when we had them dead-to-rights), some bonehead throws by Denard, and horrendous O-line play, we would have really put that game away early.
With Devin at the helm, I'm starting to really like our odds. As we all know, improving the O-line is easier said than done, but if it's even slightly better this year, I think we'll be ok. MSU spent 3 years selling out to stop the Denard run, and for the most part, it worked perfectly. I think with a balanced attack, we can put up 21-28 points and that should be enough.
... If you took away all our bad plays and all their good plays it wouldn't have been close? I'm onboard with that.
Why don't we do that more often? We would never lose again. Ever.
I'm saying that a lot of the game-changing plays were either very lucky for Sparty (imo) or something that can hopefully be remedied this season.
WMU's offense was completely overmatched by MSU's defense. But the futility of the MSU offense allowed WMU to hang around. The MSU defense scored 14 points on a pick-six and a fumble return for TD. Plus, the MSU D handed the MSU O a possession at the WMU 12, which the MSU O capitalized on with a FG. In the 3rd Q, the MSU punt return team handed the MSU O at the WMU 28. Which MSU converted for a FG. On the bright side, the MSU O scored one TD just before halftime on a 69 yard drive featuring the potent defensive pass interference play.
I thought the yips were confined to the golf course. Sorry.
I really don't care how Sparty looks for the first couple of months, because I am 100% sure that they will play their best football once UM comes to EL. Having said that, this is a team with a lot of question marks on offense but a stout defense. They are who we thought they are.
This is Mgoblog, so try and keep the 4am drunken rants to a minimum. That's what facebook is for.
And also: "There are not many teams that can win with depending primarily on their defense." I'm pretty sure the team that has won 3 of the last 4 National Championships would beg to differ.
Like it or not, the truth is MSU has a pretty stellar defense and are going to be a tough opponent come early November in East Lansing.
I hate MSU more than anyone but I believe that on that cold, damp, windy afternoon of Nov. 2nd that it's going to be an absolute war on every play. Michigan should NOT underestimate them and their little-brother-like hatred for Michigan. GO BLUE
Alabama's offensive S&P+ ranking for 2012, 2011 and 2009 (the NC years) was 4, 3, and 1, respectively. The idea that Alabama "wins by defense" is totally erroneous.
I was going to use the example of LSU a couple years ago getting to the national championship. Their offense was bad.
Had more first round picks the past 3 years than Sparty probably ever had O.
Chris... Is that you?
The team that's won 3 of the last 4 titles has also had a punishing offense to go along with their suffocating defense. Guys like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Julio Jones and Eddie Lacy have seen to that.
Alabama has had more offensive first round picks in the last 3-4 years than MSU could hope to have in the next 20-30 years.
Dude: speaking of drunken rants.
I don't drink and if I did it would not result in me getting on Mgoblog to get responses from someone who refers to themselves as the eyeware of one Josh Furman. As far as Facebook is concerned, since I live in Ohio and have geniune Bucknut friends, I try to pick my spots when talking football with all of them. I didn't identify you ahead of time as one of the mods to police what subject matter is appropriate for the early morning.
Why does there seem to be at least one irritated person on every post thread? I thought we were all happy that football had returned. Sounds like you are the 4am lush...Go Blue!
There are a number of caveats regarding the MSU performance. The weather was terrible, the WMU secondary is supposed to be halfway decent, MSU played very conservatively, and it was the first game of the year. That said, 12 points and 116 passing yards against a middle of the road MAC team is terrible.
Desperately needed to go down field to open things up early and get amu on their heels. They refused to do that and I don't think it was being conservative. If you don't have a deep threat teams can load up. Also I do not care how good their defense is if the offense is a 3 and out machine your defense is gonna wear down throughout the season and throughout games. It helped them that western couldn't get a first down either
Offense is worse than last year. They are struggling to find a QB, Maxwell is not too good. Cook is a little more mobile but will get swallowed up by better defenses. It will be up to the defense to carry this team all season. I do not care how much sugar you sprinkle on it, that offense is still a turd and I've said that for a while. It's one game and they could get better but they probably won't much.
I didn't see anything wrong with Maxwell's throws. Those receivers dropped about 10 balls, including at least 4 on 3rd down and a couple in the end zone that ended up being field goals - basically the same thing that happened last year.
If they don't get that turned around then they will see only marginal improvement (or regress) from last year where they were one of the top scoring defenses but also among the worst scoring offenses. That is a dangerously close margin that takes a lot of good breaks to get to 10 wins.
Staee has a good D. The d line had a lot of batted balls but they didn't get pressure unless they blitzed. Their best O was punting for field position.
The problem is that they allowed so many yards because Western had sooo many opportunities because MSU's offense couldn't get the job done and played so conservatively (I was amazed how many times they punted from like the 50).
I know it's early to say, but I think I'm onboard with the consensus here. MSU's offense is not better. In fact, it might even be worse. Last year, they moved the ball against Central decently. Losing that consistent running threat could really hurt them.
"Losing that consistent running threat could really hurt them." True. It could also help by forcing them to open up the playbook a bit more. I think their offense will be a bit better than last year (obviously, it would be hard to be worse), but their defense won't be quite as good.
Although their defense looked quite impressive, the 10 players on WMU's OL two-deep chart had a total of 5 career starts before the game. Not a one of them started more than 2 games before. Their starting tackles are a soph and a RS frosh.
The offense is in trouble unless they can play the deep ball
Minnesota received two touchdowns from their special teams I believe. The verdict is still out on their offense. They really struggled running the ball on UNLV.
Western scored two TDs on that D with a mediocre Freshman QB. If WMU didn't lose their starting QB, Its very likely that MSU loses that game.
Did you see their starter play? He made approximately 1 good throw. I thought the freshman looked better, actually.
The freshman was way better.
One of the WMU TDs was in garbage time. The game wasn't as close as you think.
Exactly this. Plus the first TD occurred shortly after a lucky 30-40 yard bomb. The receiver was covered so there was no way to play that better. Speaking if which, WMU kept throwing to Dennard's WR or side of field. Poor game planning to throw towards him. On a second note, Dennard was pulling and grabbing WRs all night. If he keeps that up, I sure hope the refs call it more than they did this game
I actually bought into the Herbstreit hype train and thought they'd be better.
Ah, first game jitters I'm sure.
Was very evident last night. Langford is far from Leveon Bell and they were still having major problems catching the ball. Go Blue!
Granted, it's one game and it was against WMU, so the box score isn't telling or indicative of much perhaps, but a few observations:
MSU gained 297 yards on 79 plays, which is good for 3.76 yards per play. They gave up 204 yards to the Broncos over WMU's 75 offensive snaps, which gives us a paltry 2.72 yards per play for them.
Connor Cook was MSU's most explosive rusher in that game - 4 carries, 35 yards, or nearly 9 yards per carry. Cook also had the highest overall QB rating of any QB with sufficient stats to calculate this rating - 40.4.
It was one game against a MAC opponent. Perhaps they used a limited playbook. Perhaps a couple key guys with minor injuries sat the game out. I don't know. But I still expect Sparty to be tough.
Um no, the problem (just like last season) was poor QB play and WR's that couldn't catch a cold. Western is one of the worst teams in D1 and still made the sparty offense look bad. There is no excuse for the way they played.
State's offense is not good; their defense should be good. No matter, because fortunately we get to play them, and everyone on both sides of the rivalry will get satisfaction (or not) about who owns the state.
So why did they use a second QB for a while? Are they going for a more of a QB by committee approach?
Dantonio wants to make sure they are firmly in the weeds before making any sort of decision.
I'm going to be this guy - we don't need a thread about f'ing MSU on gameday. There's a billion-post thread from yesterday where people made fun of them.
I know we talk about not caring about MSU and making fun of them as an obsessive fanbase, but posts like this show just how petty UM fans are as well.
Why be that guy? Sparty, one of our biggest rivals, had a game last night and there is a thread about it today. If you haven't noticed this is nothing new. Your post shows how petty some UM fans can be.
Are we going to see posts about OSU's game today? How about Nebraska? ND will play too.
MSU had a mediocre performance last night; check out this 672-comment thread if you don't believe it was a topic of conversation. But this is the first day of UM's 2013 season, and there really is no need to rehash a win by a rival against a mediocre MAC school.
And just because people still create these posts EVERY TIME doesn't make it reasonable or necessary. But the great thing about this place is that I can voice my opinion and you can too. But calling me "petty" because of it comes across as pretty, well, petty if you ask me.
I totally understand the excitement, but I'm just noting that I don't see a post about NDSU beating Kansas St., which to me is a pretty huge upset.
I guess I'm just a little cranky today; I get people care about MSU more than they let on around here, and it was an interesting look at a rival that struggled. It just feels unnecessary on the first day of the season to dwell on a game that was pretty heavily talked about already and has little direct impact on the season until much later. Let's see how crappy their offense looks in 4 or 5 weeks is all I'm saying.
But I bet if OSU or ND struggles or looks like crap today there will be a thread for it.
Oh yeah, totally. And maybe I'm just being cranky; I probably am. I just don't see a need for posts like this given how much it was discussed yesterday and how irrelevant it is for at least a couple of weeks (MSU's offense is hot garbage, but they also have, what, almost 2 months to fix it before UM sees them. They'll probably have something figured out by then.
You don't understand. Pixels are a precious natural resource and if we don't conserve them we'll soon run out and have none left to talk about our hotly anticipated matchup against the Chippewas. Won't someone think of the children?
In seriousness, people want to talk about football. We've covered every conceivable piece of ground (Brian wrote 41,000 words) about our team until we see some actual action. So in the meantime, people want to talk about football that's actually played instead of hypothetical football. Last night the most interesting football was that played by our in-state division rival, ergo we want to talk about it.
And had I been online last night, I would have been posting about something other than MSU game. Watching MSU vs WMU was like watching the paint dry. (But hoping that the wall would collapse for an WMU win. My wall didn't fall, and WMU didn't win.)
I don't think I have ever seen anything like this but both teams combined for 919 punt yards.
My thoughts are that Id figure being from O'Connor's hometown that youd spell his name correctly. Just kidding... But know that our game is their Super Bowl so be assured that they will play much better. What I didnt understand was why not play deep ball all game with Cook and those good wrs? They cannot run the ball without Bell. Maybe thats whats coming vs us.
Thats pretty cool. I have some friends and teammates from lima
I think my favorite part was that the TV folks were saying they got things going at the end of the first half to score that TD, when in reality they were gifted 40 yards by pass interference and holding penalties. If that's their best drive of the night, I'm not worried about their offense in the least.
the announcers telling us that Sparty has "one of the better defenses in the country" scant seconds before Western scored the last TD.
I think the one that made me laugh/spit coffee the most was on a kick-off. The announcers were talking about what a great job MSU did on coverage and "keeping their arms inside", while I was watching a minimum of two Western blockers get spun around by the jersey.
I believe it was a punt return along the near sideline. The broadcaster complimented one of the Spartans for drive blocking his man 15 yards. My wife said, "yeah, because he was holding him." Then came the comment about getting hands inside.
They are scared by mannequins, don't have as many fans as Michigan, and their wide receivers need to work with a jugs machine.
for a Friday night game, school in session, against a school that is about 2 hours away.
Yeah. That was legitimately embarrassing. After the delay they were playing in an empty stadium for the rest of the game.
This did shock me. I know it's Western, but how they couldn't fill a mid-size stadium on the first weeknight of the year boggles me mind.
They know what's coming.
That was our game against Wisconsin in 08 all over again. Is Maxwell Sheridan and Cook Threet, or is it the other way around? The difference is...Wisconsin was rated, and Western won 2 games in the MAC last year...
Only Mark Danotio's smile can save this offence. And, yes, I did spell the word I intended to use, correctly.
You from Romeo, MI by chance?
I'm curious what the results would have been against a more competent MAC offense. If this game had been against Northern Illinois or Toledo, I think things may have gotten very interesting.
Thoughts as follows - Western had a bad QB to start who threw a near pick (and some real ones) on nearly every play. He got hurt. Then the guy that replaced him (A RS freshman) looked like the most poised QB on the field for a while. He had a drive or two but mostly threw near picks. WMU had little running game talent. The best WR on the field was the WMU freshman 2 star - seriously. The 2nd score was against MSU's backups - any competent team would have won that game, but an average MAC team with a backup QB could not do anything on offense really.
MSU's back 7 was considered one of the best in the country and they played well...except Dennard. He was beaten 3x deep, including twice by said WR freshman. WMU would have had a TD on a sideline route on one of those but Dennard got away with pulling on the arm of the WR that had blazed by him down the sideline. Somewhere in the bowels of E. Lansing discussions of safety help for Dennard Island must be happening. But still their best two units (back 7) did good - heady play on one INT, and the second INT was fantastic, that kid should be playing WR for MSU. But it was WMU as an opponent. Front 4 did not generate much pressure alone until WMU began wearing down. Yes they got upfield but this was a MAC level offensive line and LBs were being sent it on blitzes to generate pash rush.
On offense - Maxwell is ok, he is a poor man's Hoyer. He can throw, but he doesnt change games or inspire anyone. He was killed by the WR corps again, even Burbridge was dropping stuff as MSU seems to be like the Lions - once you get there, most players go backwards. Cook sucked, he is a poor man's Stanton. Langford showed something at RB but who knows what he is when they play real competition. Bullough is a fullback disguised as a RB. MSU's wildcat with Langford was the only real time they drove without the help of 15 yard pass interference calls. Biggest issue of the night for Sparty is aside from WRs who like to drop balls is an OL that didnt get any push against a MAC level defense. Even late in the game when Big 10 teams wear down their opponents by their 50+ lbs per player at each position it was not happening. With all the talk of a senior/junior laden OL, now finally healthy, that is the major issue. ND DL is going to eat them alive.
All in all MSU still has a pathetic schedule and bring in 2 more cupcakes; USF was 3-9 last year and like WMU brings in a bad QB next week but they actually have some defense so I imagine if they stifle MSU's offense the catcalls in that stadium will be immense. ND is going to demolish MSU - the back 7 can only do so much. But a lot of other games on their schedule such as @Iowa or Indiana at home got a lot more interesting.
Summary: Ask Dennis Green as evveryone on the board last night had running through their minds.
1. Most importanlty: The offensive line is terrible. I thought there was probobably some middle ground between BC's observation how Leveon Bell's yards were mostly on Bell and Phil Steele saying MSU had the 2nd best line in the B1G. They look worse than last year.
2. The RB Langford is their best. He's not threat but has a bit of wiggle. Bullough was as much hype as you suspected. He's slower than Rawls
3. Maxwell doesn't do dumb stuff and can cmplete crossing routes across the middle (their best/only?) play. But he doesn't generate anything. Cook can do a little with his legs. That is all.
4. The WRs. Oh boy. They've regressed from last year. The 3rd stringers are going to get more run, leading one to ask what they're doing in practice.
5. Hoover got some stuff done on the DL. Their interior DL won't be the hole I was hoping. Did anyone see Phil Steele's 4th team nose tackel Lawrence Marshall?
6. Everyone else is as good as advertiesed on D. You'll have to take some shots against Dennard when they isolate him. Some of those shots were there; some weren't.
I would normally agree who cares about State when we're not playing them on game day....but I watched their game and was completely surprised at what I saw.
Their defense is still very good but seemed to be lacking as much of a pass rush as I remember from last year.
The offense was ugly. You expect a team like Michigan State to be able to pound the ball against a team like Western and eventually wear them down to get yards but that never happened in this game. Even when it looked like Western might be about to break when State rushed a few times and moved the ball on WMU's 3 yard line after an interception they still couldn't punch it in.
The passing game continued to have that "How the hell is this not working?" feel to it. When the receivers did a good job of getting open the QBs would throw off the mark and other times on great passes the receivers dropped seemingly easy catches.
Michigan State was never going to lose this game but against an even slightly more talented offense they would have been in a lot of trouble.
BIG TEHHNNN!!! Our conference is definitely coming out to be the absolute worst one this year... Even the MAC fields better teams than the Big 10! This game perfectly summed up how shitty the big 10 is. Our bottom feeder teams allow FCS schools to get within a 60 point margin of them! That and they can only score on defense or special teams. Pathetic. I'm getting more nervous for our debut today.
Didn't Kirk Herbstreit predict Sparty to contend for the B1G championship? Either he's on their payroll to say stuff like that or he's as blind as bat.
they have a very good chance to at least win the division. They will likely be IN every game they play, and if things break their way, they could still ride a favorable schedule and end up first, even with what looks like a mediocre offense.
John L never had a defense that good. Dantonio will break out all the tricks when they play us. Don't be like Sparty and "write that check."
When I think of their offense, I think it's something like if you took our offense and then took away Gardner, Fitz, and Gallon. Not pretty
In my mind this went from tossup to probable win last night.
God damn it Michigan.
My observations from last night.
Best player on the field was Broncos WR Corey Davis. Hands down. Not quick, but always found a seam and has great hands. I think he ended up with half of WMU's total yards. 2 star, 70 rated by 247. I think he may end up being a good one.
The MSU defense is just as good as last year if not better. The WMU TD at the end of the game was against a lot of our 2nd and 3rd teamers. I'm not a stats guy but a 26-7 victory would've 'looked' much better. WMU also gained 56 of their 204 yds on that drive. I'd rather keep the starters healthy and give up that TD.
Someone commented on the pass rush. MSU had 20 sacks last year. There were 5 last night. I'm not worried about the defense but who knows....with as much time as they'll be spending on the field they could suffer. The MSU offense is the biggest threat to the MSU defense.
There is no word in the English language to adequately describe MSU's offense. It's beyond ugly, abysmal, boring, etc. I'm not going to waste my time talking about it as most of you have already identified the issues. I have a bad feeling about USF next week.
I know this isn't football related, but not sure if its thread worthy either. Gary Harris injured his ankle in a pickup game with teammates, and is expected to miss 4-8 weeks.
Over at RCMB, they actually have a pretty funny thread going called "The 'Make and excuse' thread"
That ball they play with is a weird shape- too tough to catch I'd say
Not enough time to prepare.
Video boards are still too distracting.
WMU is the toughest opponent we've played so far
On my way to Ann Arbor for the game. I think I will reserve judgement until after I see how Michigan looks. Some of the comments on the RCMB remind me of the comments here after the 2009 UMASS game. Basically, yes the team won but good lord things look dicey.
Let's see how we look before we start trashing other teams.
this year...maybe more than last year. They don't seem to have any home run threat either running or passing the ball, and are probably going to depend on their D for a lot of points. I'll be very surprised if they win or lose many by more than 14.
Either the passing game has to get a lot better, or they will struggle to win 6 games this year. 3 yards per pass attempt is unacceptable in any weather conditions, especially against a mediocre defense like Western. They may be better than they showed yesterday, but whatever their "true" level of ability is, I would not expect much improvement over the course of the season as Maxwell is on the flat part of the learning curve now.
Edited: when betting on MSU games, always bet the under!
Dantonio may have done this on purpose. Lying in the weeds!!