Saturday, October 6, 2012

Final thoughts from Week 6 games

For just the second time this year both Michigan and Michigan State won on the same day.
Despite both coming out victorious on Saturday, the moods of both teams have to be very different.
Michigan picked up an impressive 44-13 win at Purdue while Michigan State continues to look unimpressive in its 31-27 win at Indiana. Here are my closing thoughts on both contests.

MSU at Indiana
Let’s start with the bad.
Michigan State won, but did little to inspire hope for the future.
After three weeks of sloppy football, the Spartans once again came out flat against the Hoosiers. They once again dropped passes. They once again committed undisciplined penalties. They once again struggled to open up running lanes for Le’Veon Bell. They once again gave up big plays on defense.
I think that about covers it.
Indiana came out right in the beginning of the game and took it to the MSU defense. The Hoosiers had absolutely no respect for Johnny Adams, as they threw it deep, and succeeded, against him many times.
The offense can’t get into rhythm because the offensive line is playing so poorly. Injuries surely play a part in that, but the Spartans should have the depth on the line to move the ball against a team like Indiana.
Le’Veon Bell had 121 yards, but it took 37 carries again. The Spartans could barely get 1 yard when it had to, and they usually did because Bell fought his way to fall forward.
Pass protection wasn’t very strong, and when it was, it seemed like Andrew Maxwell was getting happy feet in the pocket because he was anticipating a rush that wasn’t there.
The only thing MSU can take from Saturday’s game is that it overcame a 17-point deficit, but I truly question whether it had more to do with what the Spartans did or because Indiana went completely conservative in the second half.
The Hoosiers that took the first in the first half didn’t show up in the second half. They made it very easy for Michigan State to get the comeback victory.
I thought Aaron Burbridge played well in his first start at receiver, but even he had a key drop on a third down. He made up for it, making some tough catches late, and I suspect he will be a strong player for the Spartans going forward.
Burbridge will have to step up, along with everyone else, if tight end Dion Sims is seriously hurt.
Saturday’s win felt similar to the Eastern Michigan victory. It didn’t feel like it was even a win, more like a tie.
We keep waiting for Michigan State to turn things around and improve, but perhaps this is just what the Spartans are this season.

Michigan at Purdue
I thought Michigan would have a much tougher time than it did.
Saturday’s 44-13 win at Purdue was a good sign for the Wolverines.
The Michigan defense continued to play strong, holding Purdue to just 213 yards, while the offense racked up 408 yards and Denard Robinson was the Denard Robinson we have been accustomed to watching these past three years.
If I am being picky, I would say Michigan had a chance to put the game away sooner in the second half, but settled for field goals instead of touchdowns.
Coming into the game, I said that Michigan needed to be smart with its play calling and the Wolverines were. They didn’t put Robinson in a position to have to force tough throws. They let the running game dictate the game and used it to set up some big pass plays.
Michigan should be able to play that same style of offense against most Big Ten teams. If the defense can continue to get better, it makes the Wolverines a legit Big Ten contender.
Though Michigan didn’t pass for many yards, Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess made some nice receiving plays and it appears that the Wolverines are starting to get some playmakers other than Robinson.

Michigan State is a team that seems to be regressing, or at the very best, staying the same. Michigan, on the other hand, is a team that looks as if it is getting better, especially on defense. 

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