Friday, August 30, 2013
Reaction to MSU's 26-13 win over Western Michigan
It was the start of the 2013 college football season for Michigan State Friday night, but it looked more like a replay of the 2012 season.
Sure, the Spartans picked up a 26-13 win over Western Michigan at Spartan Stadium, but Michigan State did little to calm the concerns many have had about this team.
First off, of the 26 points MSU had on the night, 17 were from the defense. The Spartans had two defensive touchdowns and the defense handed MSU three points with an interception inside the red zone that the Spartan offense failed to punch into the end zone.
Michigan State’s offense really didn’t look any different than it did a year ago. Jeremy Langford rushed for 94 yards, but still only averaged 4.7 yards per carry against a Western Michigan defense that probably isn’t going to set records this season. When it comes to the passing game, Michigan State didn’t attack downfield, averaging just 3.1 yards per pass. When MSU did try to make some plays through the air, the Spartan receivers (mainly Bennie Fowler) dropped passes.
Both Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook did little to plant themselves in as the clear starting quarterback of this team. Each struggled with accuracy. Cook made some plays with his legs but was also lucky to not have had a few interceptions to his credit. Maxwell continued to throw short of the sticks on third down and didn’t show much presence in the pocket when the opportunities were there for him to scramble.
The longest play from scrimmage for MSU was a 26-yard pass to Fowler that was 23 yards of running after the catch. Michigan State lacked in explosive plays and if the Spartans can only average 3.9 yards per play against the Broncos, what are they going to do against good defenses?
On the other hand, MSU proved it once again has an elite defense. The Spartans will be in every game this season because of their defense. They can blitz, they can tackle and they can make plays in the secondary. Pat Narduzzi once again has put a great group together and knows what buttons to push.
The problem for the defense is it has this offense to work with. If Michigan State had any ability to consistently score, it could certainly contend for the Big Ten title.
As good as the defense can be, it will still give up the occasional big play or score. It’s very difficult to pitch a shutout in college football.
It is just the first game of the season, but it was the first game against a weak opponent. I don’t think anyone on MSU’s football team or in the Spartan fan base feels very good about this performance.