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One should not fall into an angry sea. For the sea does not care who or what stands in its path. It exists simply to bury what is around it in green, to wash over it in waves, to smash into it again and again, until nothing is capable of standing before it. Your name and prestige make no difference, for it has no concern for such things. No matter what you do or say, the sea comes for you, and eventually you will fall.
|MSU 28, UM 14|
|Close %||100.00%||STANDARD DOWNS|
|Enemy Territory %||45.76%||62.69%||Success Rate||37.50%||31.58%|
|Close Success Rate||38.98%||28.36%||Success Rate||42.11%||24.14%|
|Close Success Rate||34.29%||37.93%||Points off turnovers||0||7|
|Close S&P||0.672||0.670||BY QUARTER|
|Close Success Rate||45.83%||21.05%||1st Down S&P||0.479||0.467|
|Close PPP||0.380||0.159||2nd Down S&P||0.848||0.680|
|Close S&P||0.838||0.369||3rd Down S&P||1.116||0.345|
|Big Plays||5||5||Yards Per Point||11.89||17.86|
|Yards Per Play||5.64||3.73||Penalties||13 for 124||5 for 40|
Brief analysis after the jump
HEAVY HANDED ANALOGY IS HEAVY HANDED. ALSO, IN THIS METAPHOR, TOMMY REES IS SOMEHOW THE LIGHTHOUSE.
I initially wrote quite a bit on this game, then poked around the internet, and kind of noticed basically everything I mentioned had already been discussed in depth. So I cut back.
Here's a handful of bullets:
-Offensive line looked outstanding. Controlled a very fine player in Mike Martin, and picked up most UM blitzes quite well. Highly encouraging.
-Defensive line and blitzing linebackers looked even better, treating a strong offensive line like a turnstile for nearly the entire game.
-Dominance on both sides of the ball on passing downs was key, and will be key again against Wisconsin.
-Edwin Baker's clearly back. I'm sorry I ever doubted you, sir.
-Narduzzi has transformed this defense from a bend don't break, cover 4, zone team; into an aggressive, zone blitzing, man to man team. It's been very interesting (and gratifying) to watch. Before the UM game I wondered if he would keep those aggressive tendencies up against Wisconsin, but now I'm pretty sure he will.
-Spartan Stadium was a living, breathing, standing, screaming, organism for three hours. It was beautiful, and I expect a similar effort Saturday night.
-I was SO PROUD (Paul Rhoads'ed) of how this defense held up, after fumbles and punts into the wind gave Michigan the ball inside MSU territory. Yes, they broke once on the missed tackle on the long TD pass, but other than that, they continually bailed the team out of bad situations with excellent play.
-I was slowly and steadily buying into the hype that Hoke and his two coordinators weren't as bad as their resumes led me to believe before the season. This game (in combination with the Notre Dame and Northwestern escapes) almost completely changed my mind on that question. These three very experienced, very hyped, individuals looked very, very, bad, both tactically and strategically (for one example, look at the difference in their Run and Pass S&P, consider the weather, than, look at their Run-Pass Distribution [anything below 50% means you passed more than you ran] Yikes.) It looks like we have a decided check mark in the 'game day coaching' category in years going forward.
-Cousins played exactly the type of game he needed to in those conditions. Kept most passes short and into areas vacated by Michigan blitzes, didn't get phased by the pressure, and didn't get rattled when his receivers dropped passes that were thrown right on the money. Great stuff, and exactly what you need out of a senior quarterback.
-The type of insanely self-confident, joyous, shit talking, swagger with which this team (particularly its defense, especially its secondary, and especially, especially, Isaiah Lewis and Johnny Adams) carries itself is the type of thing that you can get away when you're really, really good.
That type of attitude was not endearing to me in 2009 when oh, let's say Jeremy Ware, would level someone after a 25 yard gain with a helmet to helmet hit, get flagged for it, and then act like he just returned a pick for a touchdown.
It's very, very endearing to me in 2011 when everyone and their backup is flying around at a million miles an hour, staying with their assignment, sticking their tackles, and generally making huge plays all over the field. So swagger on MSU defense, you've earned it as far as I'm concerned.
-Gholston earned his suspension, but the reactions of various Michigan fans (he should be charged with assault and kicked off the team!) and Michigan State fans (he didn't do anything wrong, in fact, he should have punched more of their players) were good fun for a while there. I'm Team Rexrode (as per usual), Gholston isn't a dirty player, this whole thing was overblown, but he was always going to be suspended a game for that.
-Obviously a very important win for this year in the conference standings, but don't discount the psychological, recruiting, and fan base building factor that four straight might mean 5, 10, and 15 years down the road. That might be just as important as what it represents this year. We've seen Izzo take the state in Basketball, Dantonio is well on his way there in football.
Great win, very exciting. But as a program, we've moved past the point where that game's result defines our season. Now we have a repeat big ten title and a berth in Indianapolis to worry about. And now we have another massive chance to positively advertise our program, with the help of ESPN's unparallelled hype machine, against Wisconsin. Let's do it.