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MSU football: The Good, The Bad, The Random vs. Minnesota

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Let’s take a look at what made the Spartans 5-1

Michigan State v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Say it with me, Spartans — five and one. Say it again. Five. And. One.

The Spartans left the state of Michigan for the first time this season and came back home with a win. There was plenty of good, a little bit of bad and some random off the field that we need to sort through.

As always, let’s riff about this game in the comments.

The Good

LJ BACK?! 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns reminded us of the vintage LJ Scott we’ve been looking for all year. It’s obviously great to see he’s bounced back from the injury that kept him out last week and that he’s returning to form. With a passing game that was pedestrian again due to tough throwing conditions, his performance was huge to get win No. 5.

Oh, and he killed the handshake game too...

The run blocking: The offensive line also deserves a tip of the cap for man-handling the Gophers on the ground game. The holes were huge and the blocking allowed Scott to get to that second level of the defense where he really thrives, like so:

Clutch defense (before the end): The defensive stand early in the game after a MSU punt attempt turned into a fumble recovered three yards away from the end zone set the tone for the game. Keeping the Gophers out of the end zone on that drive was monstrous. Later in the half the defense bailed out the offense again after a Brian Lewerke interception set up Minnesota at the MSU 34 yard line. Instead of letting up a touchdown to make it 10-10, the Gophers were held to a field goal to make it 10-6. Of course, that was before MSU answered with a touchdown to start the second quarter.

The run defense: Only allowed 2.7 yards per carry on the game.

Connor Heyward returns: I didn’t have freshman Connor Heyward pegged as a kickoff return guy. Boy, am I thrilled to be wrong. Heyward had an extraordinary debut at kickoff returner with three returns that went for at least 20 yards – including his 55 yard return to Minnesota’s side of the field in the fourth quarter. He also killed a guy...

Kenny Willekes: The former walk-on has been a boss this season on the defensive line, adding another sack – his third in two games – and racking up five more tackles.

Khari Willis: First interception of the year was a dandy.

The hands team: Thanks for locking up the win, guys.

Weather for next game: Right now the weather calls for high of 71 with a 10% chance of rain. We’ll take it.

The Bad

Fourth quarter defense: Whatever the opposite of an exclamation point is, that’s what the defense had this game. After three quarters of dominance the defense became unglued and allowed 21 fourth quarter points and had every Spartan fan fretting in one way or another. Hope they look at this hard and realize they can’t coast to end games (for the sake of my health).

LJ Scott fumbles: Again, Scott was excellent, but he didn’t throw a perfect game as he tacked on a fumble that let Minnesota later make it a 23-13 game. This fumbling issue is clearly not resolved as it’s his fourth of the season.

Trishton Jackson: This isn’t saying Jackson is bad – I’m just surprised with what’s going on this season after he didn’t play a single snap against the Gophers. The passing game was limited anyway on Saturday, but I was surprised to not see Jackson not on the field all game.

The Random

Bowl projections: So I did some reading, Outback Bowl in Tampa has been projected by SBNation (against LSU), David Hale of ESPN (against South Carolina), College Football News (against South Carolina) and USA Today (against Texas A&M). Citrus Bowl has been projected by CBS Sports (against Auburn) and Kyle Bonagura of ESPN (against Auburn).

Delay discussion: What do you guys do during weather delays?

Poll

What did you do during Saturday’s weather delay?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Grab another beer or two
    (154 votes)
  • 2%
    Crank out a quick nap
    (9 votes)
  • 37%
    Watch other games
    (139 votes)
  • 10%
    Get housework done
    (39 votes)
  • 7%
    Read more The Only Colors posts (correct answer)
    (26 votes)
367 votes total Vote Now

Place your bets: MSU is a -7.5 favorite (or -7, depending on where you look) for their game against Indiana next week. Who you got?

Poll

MSU (-7.5) vs. Indiana. WHO YA GOT?!

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    MSU (-7.5)
    (364 votes)
  • 19%
    Indiana (+7.5)
    (86 votes)
450 votes total Vote Now

Spirit knows the deal:

Matt McMuffin: Matt Coghlin had a solid game, going 3-for-4 on field goal tries. However, that’s not enough to have Mark Dantonio lock down his nickname.

Have a great week, everyone: And don’t forget to celebrate.