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MSU football: The Good, The Bad, The Random vs. Penn State

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You already know there’s a ton of good from Saturday’s win

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Has the adrenaline worn off yet? HA, of course not!

Gang, we’ve got a long blog post today. I won’t even BS you guys. However, it’s for good reason as the fun categories are packed and the bad ones are just me ranting like a cranky old man for the most part.

Let’s just get right into it...

The Good

Brian Lewerke: Brian Lewerke is…man, what words could I even us to do his performance justice? You know what, let’s have the stats do the talking.

One week after setting the single-game MSU record for passing yards (445), Lewerke came out and decided “you know what, give me the silver medal too” and threw for 400 yards – good for second-highest of all time. He did it on 33/56 passing with just one interception, albeit on an incredible play by Amani Oruwariye. He was also huge in keeping the offense moving with 9/14 passing on third downs, as pointed out by Chris Solari.

Spartan fans – myself included – wondered when Lewerke was going to have that signature game this year. Or if he would ever have it. Gang, that was it. We just witnessed our sophomore quarterback play a massive role in another top ten matchup. That’s what the future – and present – looks like.

The insanely good wide receivers: I mean, come on. How is this group even fair? I would trust my life with Felton Davis’ hands, which reeled in 12 catches for 181 yards.

Darrell Stewart continues to play stellar football and Moss’d a guy for a touchdown. Cody White – Cody ****ing White – has showed everyone you can shove recruiting rankings with another performance with clutch moments. And Hunter Rison? He’s our fourth best receiver, so to speak?? I mean, this group is stupid fun to watch.

Matt Coghlin, MSU hero: If anyone missed this play, it played a key role in the win.

Coghlin -- a week after missing a close one at Northwestern — had just about the best bounce-back game a kicker can have. His two field goals in the fourth were clutch. I mean, it’s as simple as that.

And that celebration? Glad to see Michael Geiger’s School of Celebration is alive and well.

Poll

Who had the better celebration?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Michael Geiger with the windmill
    (630 votes)
  • 14%
    Matt Coghlin with the slip-n-slide
    (110 votes)
740 votes total Vote Now

Defensive backs: Justin Layne and Josiah Scott were stellar. Those aren’t easy Penn State targets to lock down, but they did it. Take away Josiah Scott tripping (no one is perfect, not even him it turns out) on the Penn State touchdown to end the third quarter, and they all but had a perfect game.

And let’s talk about Khari Willis and David Dowell. Willis had a team-high 11 tackles. David Dowell had two interceptions – the first to keep Penn State from even thinking of scoring before halftime and the second to stop what looked like a promising Penn State drive.

This position group has got their swagger back.

Run defense: MSU once again contained a playmaking running back, holding Saquon Barkley to just 63 yards all game. They made Trace McSorley try to beat them with his arm, and with our No Fly Zone 2.0 they weren’t able to do so.

The fans: I swear I’m not patting myself on the back. This isn’t what it’s about, I promise.

When the delay was called, some media wondered if 5,000 would show up, and rightfully so. That would’ve been expected with a three hour and 22 minute delay.

Instead, I would put it at 25,000-30,000 showed back up. And that was a loud, passionate 25,000-30,000. To see that support had to have felt food for the players.

The Bad

How MSU handled the rain delay: This was a complete clown show. I’ll start with the most basic task – letting fans know when the game is restarting. The last thing you want to do is let everyone know you’ll start at one time and then – SURPRISE – come off the top ropes and actually restart an hour before that announced time.

That’s exactly what happened. MSU announced the game would restart at 5:30, sending people to restaurants or even home after realizing how long that wait would be. Then, surprise, they later restarted at 4:38. I know fans that had to scramble out of restaurants or regretfully keep driving home after realizing it was too late to turn back after making their decision.

Here’s an idea – don’t announce a restart time until, oh I don’t know, the restart time is known. Seems like a good idea to me.

Penn State v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

No, I’m not done yet: Hey security, see all of those dry people in the safe concourse with concession stands and plenty of bathrooms around them? You do? GOOD, better kick them out into the rain and cram them into IM West to sit in a dark gym or Wells Hall!

Oh, and make sure to do it with sirens and megaphones. I couldn’t tell if North Korea was finally giving us our nuclear reckoning, or lightning just struck a few miles away in the sky that we couldn’t see because, you know, we were covered and already safe in the concourse.

Dial it back a few notches, let us stay in the concourse and rip us off at the concessions some more during the delay.

Pass rush: The pass rush wasn’t incredible, but it was like getting footing in mashed potatoes out there. I don’t know, filling out “The Bad” portion is really tough after this game, guys. I’m really, really reaching here.

Run offense: 74 yards on 24 attempts. All well, at least we pretty much abandoned it in the second half instead of continuously pounding the ball to Nowhere Town.

The Random

Josh Butler’s father: First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Josh Butler and his family. He found out close to game time that his father passed away and still suited up to play. He was active on Twitter on Sunday, so reach out to him with any kind words you have to let him know he has Spartan nation’s love and support.

Good on James Franklin: I clown him, I don’t really like him, but this was a great move on his part. That’s what you want to see out of a college coach.

Hey, here are some fun stats: Let’s start with the No. 13 AP Poll ranking...

And speaking of AP Polls...

And one more for the road...

As the old saying goes: “Never taunt your opponent with the score of a another game and then double down even further and say your team will be playing in the conference championship game.” -Anonymous

**Edit: Based on replies below it looks like I interpreted this the wrong way and Saquon wasn’t talking smack, but rather kindly informing Frey the game they were playing in was indeed the big one. Hand up, that’s my bad**

Bowl projections: We are all over the board here. Let’s get into it.

Jason Kirk of SBNation has us in the Cotton Bowl (against TCU). Eric Single of Sports Illustrated and Jerry Palm of CBS Sports have us in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl (WTF? Anyway, both have us slated against Washington State).

Kyle Bonagura and David Hale of ESPN both have MSU in the Outback Bowl, both picking Mississippi State as the opponent. Collegefootballnews.com has us in the Outback Bowl as well, against Auburn.

Look good, play good: Dantonio after the game said they ordered food and took their shoulder pads off during the break. Some listened to music. A few even napped. Joe Bachie? Well, he took a different route...

Damion Terry, all-world teammate: The senior backup quarterback is still the man.

I’m also going to need everyone here to read Cody Tucker’s story on Damion Terry. That guy does great work for the Lansing State Journal and this was a brilliant piece on him.

Place your bets: If you’ve learned anything from these, I hope it’s to never, ever take gambling advice from me. I have lost thousands of metaphorical dollars on my last two “locks” of under 40 against Northwestern and Penn State +7.5. With that said, here is the spread...

Ahh **** it, I’m picking OSU -15.5. Let’s keep playing my extremely cold hand for the better of this team.

AND AS ALWAYS MY FELLOW SPARTANS: DON’T FORGET TO CELEBRATE THIS ONE.