Cousins on the Road vs. Home

Submitted by brewandbluesaturdays on October 7th, 2010 at 11:13 AM

So, much has been made in the MSM of Kirk Cousins blossoming as a qb this year and how he should have no problem Chappelbombing the Michigan D. One major aspect of this game that I dont believe has received enough attention is that, this is the first time MSU will play a road game this season (Let's be serious Ford Field doesnt count). So I thought I would take a look at how well Cousins fared on the road last season. Needless to say I was not very impressed.

@ND- 23/ 35 -302 YDS - 1 INT- 1 TD

@WISCY-17/34- 201 YDS- 1 INT- 2 TD

@Minnesota- 21/35- 236 YDS- 1 INT- 2 TD

@ Purdue- 11/25- 208 YDS- 0 INT- 3 TD

TEXAS TECH Bowl Game- 13/27- 220 YDS- 2 INT- 1 TD

TOTAL AVG- 17/31.2- 233.4 YDs- 1 TD- 1.8 TD- Completion percentage 54%


Montana State- 10/17- 183 YDS- 3 TD- 0 INT (SPLIT TIME WITH NICHOLS)

Central Mich- 13/18- 164 YDS- 1 TD- 0 INT (SPLIT TIME WITH NICOLS)

MICH- 15/21- 152 YDS- 0 TD- 2 INT (RUSHED FOR 74 YDS THOUGH)

NW- 21/31- 281 YDS- 2 TD- 0 INT

IOWA- 16/32-255 YDS- 1 TD- 0 INT

WMU- 22-25- 353 YDS- 2 TD- 0 INT

PSU- 16/28- 155 YDS- 1 TD- 1 INT

TOTAL AVGS: 16/24.5- 220 YDS- 1.5 TD- .33 INT- Completion Percentage 65%

As you can see his outliers were in yards against ND and TD against Purdue. but overall not very impressive when away from the friendly confines.

At home outliers were yards against WMU, INT's against Michigan and TD's against Montans State. He obviously took care of the ball better at home with a little less yardage to go with.

I dont know what conclusions I draw from this other than I dont think Cousins is very good on the road and Saturday will most definitely be the most hostile crowd he has ever faced, as I expect it to be the loudest game at the Big House ever.

Cant wait for Saturday Go Blue!!! Sorry if my charts were a little spotty I dont know how to import one.

FWIW: This year in their "Road game" againt FAU Cousins stat line was, 9/17- 142 YDS- 1 TD- 1 INT



October 7th, 2010 at 11:18 AM ^

I agree that Cousins will have trouble on the road at the Big House. Not many people, especially the MSM, is looking at this game and seeing that it is the first true road game for MSU. He will be decent against our secondary, but not Chappel like IMO.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:21 AM ^

Cousins likes to chuck ints in big games.  This year, we have the offense to punish sparty for it. 

On the contrary, we are doing a very good job of keeping control of the ball and not making dumb choices. 

If we convert off of 2 turnovers, that alone may win us the game.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

i dont know how much that will amtter..i've been to a few um/msu games and the crowd is about mixed...ann arbor is closer to lansing than detroit anyways

myantoniobass …

October 7th, 2010 at 11:25 AM ^

I am sure he is better now as a junior, but I still compare him to a robot. And I don't mean like a robo-cop or Arnold in T2 cool, emotionless killer. I mean more like the awkward, oh it's loud I think I'll throw an INT kind. Cousins gives me even more confidence Denard will win this game, regardless of our D.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:28 AM ^

Kirk is a good QB, and he's been playing very well this year. I don't think he'll be as successful as Chappell was, but he might not have to be. MSU's receivers are maybe not quite as good as IU's overall, but Martin provides a big play threat.

I agree that Cousins has a tendency to get jumpy and make bad throws from the pocket if he gets pressured. (He threw 2 in the first half against Wisconsin.) When they drop back I think our 3 man rush could help out, especially if we can get to him even a little bit. Keeping 8 in coverage will give us a slightly better chance to jump one of his errant/ill-advised throws.

The crowd will have to come up big as well. Any miscommunication will help us immensely. I'll be doing my part.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:36 AM ^

I think we have to rush at least 4 to get any pressure on Cousins. I think the worst thing we could do is send 3 and give him all day to pick us apart. Like you said he throws picks when pressured. So I hope we send either Roh or Mouton in passing situations, unless its 3rd and 15 or more.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:33 AM ^

To add to those statistics...




@ PURDUE (Won - beat a 7 loss Boiler squad by 3 in the final minute thanks to a kickoff return for a score.)


Cousins is a decent QB.  But I've seen him make some horrible mistakes on the road.  I really hope that continues this Saturday. 

And I expect the big house to be louder than it's ever been.  At least I hope so.  It's sometimes hard to tell on TV.

Braylon 5 Hour…

October 7th, 2010 at 11:32 AM ^

All this implies a defense that is good enough to pressure him into mistakes.  The guy is certainly better than he was last year.  He threw 2 picks against Wisconsin last week, I'm holding out some hope that he'll make some mistakes and some bad throws, we'll just have to be there to capitalize.  

I don't think we can sit there depending on him to choke it away big time, especially since he's got a running game that he can rely on that is much better than it was last year.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:36 AM ^

It should be very interesting to see how he does on the road. I think that if they see him struggle in the first half (which would be very nice to see but very hard to believe) they will put most of their focus on that "great run game" I think that this game will depend on our front lines... both ways D and O. 


October 7th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

He's actually 2-4.

He beat a 9 loss Illinois team in Champaign last year and he beat a 7 loss Purdue team in West Lafayette.

That Purdue game was won thanks to special teams.  Sparty had 229 yards in kickoff returns.  Purdue had 530 yards in total offense.  With the score tied 37-37 and just 2 minutes left in the game, MSU returned a kickoff 87 yards to the Purdue 11 and that led them to easily run out the clock before kicking the field goal to win 40-37. 


October 7th, 2010 at 11:43 AM ^

I kinda think the State coaches know this about Cousin that he isn't as comfortable on the road so they are gonna try and really rely on Baker, Bell, and even  a little Caper throughout the game. And by doing this it will really keep the TOP on their side hence keeping Shoelace off the field (their biggest fear.) But I think an early turnover will give us the ball and allow us to score and go up two posessions and that's where Cousins has to start chucking it up and that's where we will really see how much better he is.

MI Expat NY

October 7th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

I don't think Cousin's numbers matter so much as the fact that this is their first road game.  To make matters worse, their last "intimidating" road game was probably Wisconsin, over a year ago (Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, not so intimidating).  I think we'd all agree that we made some mistakes in our first road test at ND.  I'd expect MSU to have similar problems.  Probably only gives us a slight edge, but that might be all we need.

mr. arbor

October 7th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

I think, if were honest, we can say that the kid has gotten better since last year.  Thats not a bad think, heck, our QB looks like he had an arm transplant.


I think its MSUs going on the road for the first time this season, for such an important game (for them), at our Big House is what will throw Cousins off his game.  Lets make sure it happens!!! 


October 7th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

Question for brewandbluesaturdays: what's the compare? In comparison what was an average home game set of stats against FBS opponents last year. This would give us a likely drop off rate, giving us a sense for how he is likely to do versus his FBS stats so far this year.

Nice bit of analysis.



October 7th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

I don't think you should include the bowl game in the averages, since have of his receivers were suspended and it was Nichol's first time playing at the position.

Cousins is good.  I think the best we can hope for is a decent day, instead of Cheppellbomb hot, and that we can pick him off at least once in the red zone.  And hopefully he doesn't run all over us again this year!

M_Born M_Believer

October 7th, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^

is important, but will only be an effect based upon our ability to stop/contain their running game.  I expect MSU to try and grind out 1st and 2nd down, leading to managable 3rd down conversions. (Similar to what IU did, but only through short passing).  If Cousins is faced with several 3rd and 5 or less.  I expect a very high conversion rate for them.

This is simply going to come down to the basics of football for our D.  Stop the run (and force MSU into 3rd and long distances) and win the turnover battle.  It will be a direct correlation.  The better we do in those 2 categories, the better our chances are in the game.


October 7th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

He's on the radio show right now. When Rome asked how he'll deal with the michigan crowd. Cousins said, "that's why you come to Michigan state - to play in games like that.". Funny. If you want to play in games like that, you go to Michigan.