Biggies and Slappies: Northern Colorado

This one will be shorter than usual, because any old above-average performance against Northern Colorado shouldn't be enough to qualify for an award.  With that caveat, on we go:

BIGGIES

Biggie_icon_medium  Kirk CousinsEasily his best game of the season: 16-20, 290 yards (14.5 YPA (!), 2 TDs, 0 INTs).  Of course, we have to bear in mind the competition, but between the second half against Notre Dame and this past Saturday's effort, it's a fair conclusion that Cousins has shaken off his mediocre play in the first two games.  Mark Dantonio recognized as much during his press conference today: "

JSWarno From what Dantonio saw out of the team Saturday, he said quarterback Kirk Cousins played his best game of the year.

No doubt.  Cousins did an excellent job of spreading the ball around, too: his sixteen completions were spread among seven different receivers, and Brian Linthicum certainly had the most productive game of his Spartan career.  At the same time, he seems to be establishing a solid rapport with both B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell -- connections that have been missing in the past and will be very important to keep throughout this season.  His touchdown pass to Larry Caper was a thing of beauty, and he should have lots of confidence heading into the conference season.

Biggie_icon_medium Le'Veon Bell.

Yes, horrible tackling.  But also, 8.4 yards per carry and 3 touchdowns.  The guy is good.

Biggie_icon_medium Max Bullough.  The coaching staff took the wraps off of Bullough for the first time on Saturday, and he looked great: 4 tackles (including one tackle for a loss), an interception followed by a nice return, and very solid in pass coverage.  We'll probably see less of him over the next few weeks as the competition drastically improves, but if we must play 1-AA teams, a primary goal should be to give playing time to younger players.  Bullough got his opportunity on Saturday and certainly made the most of it.  No redshirt for him.

Biggie_icon_medium Don Treadwell.  The biggest Biggie of the day goes to a coach, appropriately enough.  Treadwell called a very solid game on Saturday, and despite Dantonio's absence, the team clearly didn't miss a beat.  What's more, he handled the mid-week press conferences and radio show, and all of the post-game duties, extremely well.  It's hard now to see how he isn't offered the next available MAC coaching job; after this week, he'll have earned it.

Slappies, after the jump.

SLAPPIES

Slappy_icon_medium The defensive line.  Or, more specifically, the lack of a pass rush from the defensive line -- once again.  Yes, the Northern Colorado quarterback was relatively mobile, and did a good job rolling out and evading the rush.  Nonetheless, zero sacks on Saturday, and only one in the last two games.  That's a major problem, particularly heading into the Wisconsin game, as the Badgers have an excellent offensive line and a quarterback who can dissect our secondary if given ample time in the pocket.  William Gholston has rarely been seen aside from intermittent third down situations, but even considering that, he's been our best pass rusher this season.  He needs to be on the field more often.

Slappy_icon_medium The entire team, for penalties.  This is probably the closest I'll ever get to typing the word "unacceptable" on this blog.  11 penalties for 121 yards!?!?  2 defensive offsides (and a third that was declined), 5 personal fouls, and 2 holding calls (and a third that was declined) -- among other offenses.  As I said on Saturday: that penalty tally would result in a loss against almost all Big Ten teams.

As always, award your own Biggies and Slappies in the comments.

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