Fee Fi Foe Film: Michigan State

Fee Fi Foe Film: Michigan State

Submitted by Ace on October 13th, 2011 at 9:51 AM

This Fee Fi Foe Film is brought to you by the word 'derp'. No, not because of any particular derp-worthy Michigan State moments, but because I spent much of the day yesterday breaking down the MSU-OSU game (in which it was near-impossible to learn anything about the Spartan defense against such a pathetic offense), then found a far-more-relevant torrent of the Notre Dame game right as I was about to go to bed. I tried to include as many relevant bits from the ND game as possible, but I mostly just had time to look at Notre Dame scoring plays and didn't get too much context.

Okay, and this post is also brought to you by the word 'derp' because it largely consists of "highlights" from the MSU-OSU game. You got me there. Moving on...

Will do, Clint. Here's the...offense?

OFFENSE

Oh, good, I was right (and totally stealing Brian's schtick).

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Hybrid.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? MANBALL. Shorthanded offensive line or no, MSU tries to run it down your throat with gap blocking. Yes, there is power, though they seem to run it with about the same effectiveness as Michigan.

Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]):  Kirk Cousins is semi-mobile but doesn't utilize his legs very often. I'll give him a 3.5.

Dangerman: B.J. Cunningham (WR #3)

OVERVIEW: Against Ohio State, the Spartans tended to play from under center on first and second down before moving to the shotgun in third-down or obvious passing situations. A couple drives were run almost exclusively from the shotgun, but these mostly came in two-minute situations. State stayed relatively vanilla when it came to playcalling—from under center, you could expect mostly runs, while out of the shotgun they didn't muster a successful run play (and only called two, both draws that were stuffed at the line).

I have seen the argument put out there that MSU's offensive line isn't getting enough credit and they actually ran the ball decently against Ohio State. Sorry, but I just don't see it. State's running backs combined to average just 3.1 yards per carry on 27 attempts, mostly due to the fact that the O-line missed several assignments and couldn't open up a crease in the defensive line—it's not like Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker suddenly got terrible. Against Notre Dame, the backs averaged—oh, hey—3.1 yards per carry. I see a trend, and that trend is a crappy running game.

The passing game is more efficient, in large part due to the exploits of Cunningham. At first glance, it seems like State does a solid job of protecting Cousins, allowing just one sack per game this season, but that is somewhat deceptive—MSU rolls their pocket on nearly every passing play to keep Cousins out of danger, and the line still manages to allow pressure. Their offensive line just isn't very good, you guys.

For the rest of the offensive breakdown plus a long look at the defense, hit the jump.