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Postgame Thread: MSU 28, Youngstown St. 6

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It wasn't necessarily pretty; just an eight-point lead at the half. But it's a win, and by the end of this weekend (or by the end of the night, for that matter - as I write, Baylor leads TCU in the 4th quarter) there will be a fair number of currently-ranked teams who would gladly make that trade.

The good:

  • Kirk Cousins was his usual absurdly accurate self: 18/22, 221 yards and a TD. B.J. Cunningham caught half of these for 129 yards (including a beautiful 55-yard catch and run to set up the second TD after Youngstown State cut the lead to 7-6). Cunningham has now tied Matt Trannon's career receptions record at 148.
  • Le'Veon Bell was running over and through tacklers all night. Only nine carries for 40 yards, but two of those went for touchdowns and the first hit almost never took him down.
  • Edwin Baker: 15 carries, 93 yards. No scores (Caper had the other TD on the ground), but 6.2 YPC is nothing to turn your nose up at.

The bad:

  • Too many missed tackles in the first half. Youngstown State was able to get four yards almost every play on their early drives, and our front seven got swallowed up by the offensive line far too often for a game that should have been a mismatch. Pass coverage downfield was a bit better, and once Kurt Hess was forced to go to the air more often his inaccuracy made things easy for the defense.
  • Special teams had a couple miscues: Keshawn Martin muffed a punt leading to YSU's only score of the game, and a Dan Conroy FG attempt was blocked (due, I think, to a bad snap and hold resulting in a very low kick). At this point, with Martin I think you have to take the bad (too many dropped punts) with the good (explosive returns); tonight we got the bad end of the variance.

Ultimately, though, 1-0 is 1-0. A few areas to improve on, of course, but that's a large part of why teams schedule these "guarantee games" in the first week. Leave your thoughts on the game here.