Let’s just dive right into it, I don’t even have the energy for a cute little intro for today.
The defense. I feel absolutely sick for the defense. Every single week they go out there and do their job. Most times they even go above and beyond. And Saturday’s assignment was incredibly tough — containing OSU’s offense to allow your struggling offense to do the bare minimum to get the win. The MSU offense couldn’t even do that.
That’s a Big Ten title caliber defense paired with an offense that couldn’t sniff a MAC title.
I’m not going to rip apart the quarterbacks. But you best believe I will rip apart how this whole thing was handled. Actually, can you rip something for how it was handed if it looked like it was never even handled in the first place?
We all know how much of a circus this was when Dantonio said “if (Brian Lewerke) was hurt, he would not be playing.” That was said days after Lewerke admitted he has pain in his shoulder every time he throws. And after Lewerke went 16-45 in his last two games – not necessarily “must start” numbers. Well, apparently, to one coaching staff they are.
By starting Lewerke, MSU waved the white flag on the first six possessions. The run game has been just abysmal all year (sorry for glossing over the performance against an embattled Maryland team). And now you’re starting a quarterback that has struggled in his performance due to shoulder pain? Where the hell are the adults in the room? Where is anyone with even a little bit of common sense?
Since no one was there to make the no-brainer move to start Rocky Lombardi at quarterback, MSU got five punts and a missed field goal from Bath Township with those first six series. Oh, and one of those punts came with starting field position on the OSU 30. MSU didn’t even cross the 30 on that possession because, oh I don’t know, you can’t run the ball and elected to start a quarterback without a shoulder. Nice call, guys.
And when Lombardi finally got into the game, he looked fine. Actually throwing balls that were giving his receivers chances on their touchdown drive…oh yeah, that’s right. MSU elected to kick a field goal to end the half, for whatever reason.
I know this sounds like Monday morning quarterbacking and yadda yadda ya, but I hated that decision to kick the field goal on 4th-and-1 from the 26 yard line the moment it happened. Your offense is broken, you can barely move the ball today and aren’t going to get a lot of touchdown chances. If you want to beat a top ten team, act like it. Don’t get conservative and kick field goals when you know full well your offense can’t do enough to generate touchdown opportunities.
Yeah, Lombardi didn’t put himself into Heisman contention on Saturday, but look at what he was dealt. Not only did he have to play catch-up and come off the bench cold, but all five of his drives in the second half started inside the MSU six yard line. With an offense that can’t run the ball two yards, he was forced to try to throw himself out of awful field position and, well, it just didn’t go well.
No, I’m not done with how the coaches are even talking about this.
Dantonio: "I thought we played the quarterback situation as well as we could have, with respects to both quarterbacks."— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) November 10, 2018
Yeah, that totally makes sense. You started your quarterback who can’t throw a football and hasn’t been able to for nearly a month and sat your guy who actually can throw. And that same guy who has a hurt shoulder and taken out of the game because of it? Yeah, go ahead and throw him back in for garbage time too. That ought to help him recover.
I’m sure if they were on lifeboats on the Atlantic in 1912 they would see the Titanic plummeting into the water, shrug and say “I think the captain did this all right.”
Oh, and Michigan will house Northwestern in the Big Ten title game and reach the College Football Playoff. Awesome year we are having.
Don’t for a second even think I’m saying MSU should do something insane like fire Dantonio. I know there are some people on that train, and those people are crazy people. Yes, he has his faults and is stubborn and stuff like this happens because of that, but he’s still a great coach. Don’t be a “Fire Dantonio” person.
Hey, at least we’ve got MSU basketball today. MSU takes on Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m. (BTN) and, my goodness, let’s not make it as stressful as the last time they came to town.
Let’s do some bowl projections, which is still looking sunny as of now. SBNation and CBS Sports have us pegged for the Outback Bowl and Sports Illustrated is sending us to Jacksonville for some TaxSlayer Bowl action.
Next week’s game is announced for noon vs. Nebraska, so we can just get that over with as soon as possible.
Michigan State's game at Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 17 will start at 12 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on FOX.— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) November 11, 2018
That’s it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend Spartans. Go Green!