Saturday, October 27, 2012

Final thoughts on Week 9 for Michigan, MSU

Nebraska 23, Michigan 9
Well, looks like Michigan State isn’t the only team having trouble on offense. Michigan found out what life might be like without Denard Robinson on Saturday, and it wasn’t pretty.
With Robinson on the sidelines with an elbow injury, freshman quarterback Russell Bellomy took over in the second half and was just 3 of 16 passing for 37 yards and three interceptions. Bellomy looked lost and the offense as a whole couldn’t get in any sort of sync with Robinson on the sidelines.
Robinson didn’t exactly light up the Nebraska defense when he played in the first half, but Michigan was in the game and showed signs of being able to move the ball down the field.
Nebraska’s defense isn’t exactly a juggernaut either. I fully expected the Wolverines to score more than six points in the first half with Robinson under center.
The Michigan defense played well enough against a good offense for Michigan to win, but the Wolverines’ just couldn’t find any magic on offense.
Despite the loss, the Wolverines can still win the Legends Division. Unfortunately for Michigan, they will have to root on the Spartans next week as MSU hosts the Cornhuskers.
Aside from Saturday’s loss, the performance of the offense without Robinson has to be concerning about the future of the program.
Just who is going to be the quarterback next season? If it is Bellomy, can he improve enough to make Michigan a contender? If it is Gardner, is he going to be able to transition back to the quarterback position and play at a high level? If it is a true freshman, will they be able to handle the pressure?
Those questions will loom over Michigan the rest of the season as the Wolverines still look to earn the Big Ten title.

Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13, OT
In a year of disappointments, Michigan State had its high moment of the season thus far, picking up an unlikely overtime win at Wisconsin.
The MSU offense was a mess again, racking up just 270 yards, but the Spartan defense had arguably its best performance of the season, holding Wisconsin to 190 total yards.
Despite three and a half quarters of offensive ineptitude, Michigan State put together a pair of big scoring drives when it mattered most with Andrew Maxwell getting two touchdown passes in the process.
Maxwell looked off a lot on Saturday, but his game-winning pass to Bennie Fowler in overtime was a great throw and could be a play that sparks his progression as a college quarterback.
Maxwell needed the marquee throw and victory to give him confidence, and this win could be it.
Michigan State is clearly a team that is not going to light up the scoreboard and play with great finesse, but it is a team that is going to have a shot to win in the fourth quarter each week, largely due to its defense.
The difference between winning and losing will be up to the offense. They haven’t come through very often this season, but today they did.
We can talk about the offensive line issues, but those will be an issue all year. It is something that MSU is going to have to try to overcome.
Michigan State is not going to be a finished product this season. It is going to be ugly football, but the Spartans can hang their hat on not quitting and perhaps still have an 8-win season if they manage to make a few plays.

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