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First Down Stats vs. Illinois

Given the circumstances (#2 QB playing the full game; opponent in state of disarray), I'm not sure how much meaning these numbers have.  But, hey, I've got an Excel file to keep up-to-date:

  • 17 rushing attempts for 76 yards (4.5 yards/attempts), 1 TD.
  • 4-11 on pass attempts for 78 yards (36.4% comp%, 7.1 yards attempt), 1 INT.

The rushing numbers are actually better than the average-per-attempt figure would indicate.  Excluding a 2-yard TD run, the MSU running backs gained at least 4 yards on 13 of 16 first down attempts.  They just didn't break a big run on first down.

Keith Nichol obviously struggled on first down, although his 3 first-half completion on first down went for 25, 14, and 30 yards.  So he did keep the defense somewhat honest.

Losing Glenn Winston for the season certainly has a negative impact on the running game, but the consistency in gaining yards on the ground last Saturday would point toward the offensive line getting healthy being a bigger factor than any particular running back.  (Still, pleeeease stay healthy, Larry Caper.)  If we can couple that kind of consistency with a healthy Kirk Cousins throwing the ball to White, Cunningham, and Dell, then we'll really have something.