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The Good, The Bad, The Random in MSU’s win over Purdue

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There’s plenty of good coming out of Saturday’s victory, gang

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

That was as satisfying of a win you’ll get.

The field is littered with back-ups, a smoking hot Purdue team is coming to town and all MSU does is flex that defense, make it work on offense and get that victory.

Let’s get into it.

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

The Good

Justin Layne just may have been the MVP of that game. He had four pass breakups, seven tackles and one catch on offense for 11 yards. And really, he could have had two touchdowns on deep balls that Rocky Lombardi just overthrew as Layne got separation on streak routes.

And aside from missing on those two deep balls to Layne, Rocky was outstanding. He made great throws. He made great reads. He never really got himself in danger and played as composed as a guy who’s started 20+ games. We’ll forgive him for not connecting on 40+ yard passes to a starting cornerback-turned-receiver in his first start.

In a season where a lot has gone wrong, it was relieving to see that the quarterback position will pretty alright with Lewerke rehabbing his injury.

The pass protection was also lock-tight pretty much the entire game. The offensive line deserves a lot of love for their outing on Saturday.

Going back to talking about great defensive back play, how about this pass breakup by Tre Person?

Mark Dantonio always has absolute steals in his recruiting classes, and the steal of this class is looking like it’s Jalen Nailor. What an absolute electric factory. You could put him in a hallway and I still think he would burn an entire defense trying to take him down. I don’t know how a guy with his speed and vision was rated as a 3-star, but hey, I’m cool with it.

Really, the entire receiving corps had a really solid game. Darrell Stewart had four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. Matt Dotson looks like the primary tight end of the future now. Brandon Sowards led the team with six grabs. Cam Chambers also had a really nice game (we’ll forget that one drop) with five catches and 53 yards.

Tyriq Thompson pretty much killed a guy. That was arguably the play of the game on defense to halt a Purdue drive with a three point Spartan lead.

The Panasiuk Bros. were the cause of that blocked field goal that would have tied the game. And nothing sums it up better than this quote.

Matt Coghlin was once again great, despite having his third attempt blocked. Knocking in a 43-yarder and a 48-yarder are certainly good enough to get a positive grade.

Operation #FreeJosiahScott is officially over as he served his suspension from the Holiday Bowl in the first half. Now it gets interesting if they want to preserve his redshirt with five games left. Do you play him all five and burn his redshirt? Do you play him the remaining regular season games and sit him for the bowl game? Do you sit him for Rutgers and start Zeke the Wonderdog instead for that game? Who knows?

Shoutout to everyone for shouting “Cancer Sucks!” at kickoffs on Saturday. Your message was heard by Tyler Trent back home because of you guys.

The Bad

There...isn’t really a lot to say here. I guess the run game still leaves a lot to be desired as they averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. Nothing new here, really.

Oh yeah, and this BS unsportsmanlike conduct call. I expect a $50,000 fine from the Big Ten — $10K for each high five.

The Random

Let’s pump the brakes with the “quarterback controversy” talk, at least for now. Did Rocky look good on Saturday? You’re damn right he did. Was it just one game? Uhh, yeah.

Rocky showed a lot of good signs against Purdue, but we need to see a larger sample size than one game to call this QB battle officially “on.” Another solid showing next week — if he still starts — and a great performance and/or win against Ohio State will get my eyebrows raised.

Until then, a healthy Brian Lewerke is the guy. Yes, he hasn’t looked like 2017 Lewerke for most the season, but he’s been dealing with this injury for a while and also has to create chemistry with roughly three dozen different receivers.

MSU is in a good spot with their QB position. They’re in a spot where they have two guys they can trust — this isn’t a situation where you’re picking between two decent-at-best guys like a good number of programs are.

Let’s rifle through some bowl projections, where we are either in great weather or 8 degree weather. SBNation, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports all have MSU in the Outback Bowl. ESPN is split with MSU, one writer picking the RedBox Bowl in Santa Clara and another writer putting us down for the Pinstripe Bowl.

I was about to say this was certainly MSU’s second best win of the season...but guys, look at Utah State. UTAH STATE! The now No. 20-ranked Aggies have been annihilating teams. I still think the Purdue win is a better victory considering the circumstances with injury and the fact that the Boilermakers were white-hot. However, it’s not as clear as it may seem with Utah State looking like one of the best Group of Five teams in the country.

Poll

What was a better win for MSU?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Purdue
    (316 votes)
  • 30%
    Utah State
    (137 votes)
453 votes total Vote Now

It’s OK to be bummed Lombardi didn’t get any spin last week against Michigan. I’ve seen every take on this ranging from “there’s no way MSU wins anyway” to “MSU would have won by 14 if he played,” and I think both are wrong and equally as spicy.

Here’s my thought — at least he would’ve given MSU’s offense a chance. Maybe. Yes, Lewerke didn’t turn the ball over, but part of that is because his passes weren’t close enough to anyone to be turned over. Then again, maybe Lombardi would’ve chucked the ball away against a great defense on his first start.

Who knows what would have happened? All we know now is that MSU appears to be in decent hands even with Lewerke sidelined.

Good news from the Felton Davis camp. Really, really hoping he thrives at the next level. Too fun of a player to watch.

I actually can’t imagine it, Cam.

And he’s not wrong...

As always, don’t forget to celebrate. GO GREEN!