clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three Takeaways: MSU - Maryland

Put your mouth guard in, Connor. Unless this is in warm-ups, in which case, it's OK.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Connor Cook was off all night

Cook finished 14-for-31 for 240 yards and didn't throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 16 games, ending a school-record-tying streak. Cook averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt, but that goes down to 4.4 when you take out the short/medium passes to Keith Mumphrey and Macgarrett Kings that went 62 and 50 yards, respectively. From the very beginning, he struggled to identify open guys and missed a few that were open. He was sacked twice, but didn't face very much pressure in what was another fantastic pass protection performance. This game very much felt like the Nebraska game.

Cook wasn't terrible, but he never seemed to quite find a rhythm, as drive after drive stalled in or near Maryland territory. MSU had just two three-and-outs, but went 6-for-18 on third down after converting 47.6 percent coming into the game.

2. Shilique Calhoun has turned into Jerel Worthy

In both good and bad ways. For the past two weeks, Calhoun has been really jumpy at the snap. He was offsides twice and lined up in the neutral zone once on Saturday. The other side of that coin is that he was consistently getting in the backfield and pressuring C.J. Brown, despite the knee injury that has taken him out of games at times.

But he's also failed to wrap up the quarterback in the past two games. He finished with just one tackle for loss on Saturday, but should have also had some sacks. So it's a mix of good and bad, something Worthy was known for.

3. What a difference expectations make

MSU is currently a top-10 team with the most prolific offense in school history and could finish with at least 10 wins, but the attitude regarding the team is pretty ho-hum. Ten wins is becoming the norm for the Spartans, and hopes for a championship are lost. I think it was KJ who recently compared MSU to Lloyd Carr's Michigan teams, and I'm certainly getting that vibe this season.

I don't think anyone has gotten complacent, but it's still wild to look at how expectations have changed. MSU has only once won nine games in four out of five years (1951-55). One more win this season will match that. This offense has broken the school record for points scored (surpassing 434 in 2011), and it's hard to see them falling short of the scoring average record (37.4 in 1978, currently at 43.8).

Though championship hopes are gone, making a non-semifinal playoff/power six bowl would still be quite an accomplishment, and MSU is in good position to do so. I don't think anyone is expecting a big crowd on Senior Day against Rutgers, but an 8-2 MSU team (likely) not drawing well in a game is a statement to how much this senior class has changed the expectations.