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The Good, The Bad, The Random in MSU football’s loss at Arizona State

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I can’t believe this happened

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, I think enough time has passed to be level-headed about this.

On one hand, the sun rose the next morning and the world is still spinning, somehow.

On the other hand...wow. That was ugly — no other way around it. Losing to an Arizona State team that scored 16 points was an embarrassment for this team.

The Good

The receivers were just fine, no issues with them on the day. Darrell Stewart led with 113 yards.

Justin Layne was as good as you could ask him to be going up against N’Keal Harry. This sounds ridiculous, but keeping Harry to 89 yards and one touchdown isn’t too shabby. That guy will be catching balls on Sunday next year.

The only place that Spartan fans hit harder than the bars in Tempe was the stadium itself. About a third of that stadium was MSU fans.

The Bad

The red zone is just laughable. Between the inability to run the ball and play with any discipline beyond the 20 yard line, this is where MSU lost the game. They had four trips inside the red zone, and this is what happened.

1) Stuffed quarterback sneak on 3rd-and-1 on ASU’s 14 yard line, only to somehow get a delay of game before trying to convert on 4th-and-1. Instead, the Spartans settled for a field goal.

2) Lewerke sails a ball over a wide-open Matt Sokol’s head inside the five yard line, keeping the game at 3-0 instead of going up 10-0. He was fine over the course of the game with 314 yards, but to put it bluntly, his game can’t be considered great with throws like that coming in crucial spots.

3) Offensive line blown up on 3rd-and-2 on the Arizona State seven yard line, losing three yards and settling for a field goal. Lewerke almost got sacked on a handoff that play.

4) MSU got its touchdown here, but not before going from the 16 yard line to the 31 yard line on an illegal block call the second they got into the red zone.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line is...we all know, we don’t have to harp on it any longer.

The pass rush is taking two bye weeks as they never got off the plane on Saturday. Yes, Arizona State only scored 16 points — that should have been much, much worse. Wilkins took a shot on about a half dozen deep balls because the Sun Devils had more than enough time to let 40 yard routes develop. It was a miracle he didn’t connect on at least one of those. Wilkins ended the game on 380 passing yards, and roughly 40 of those yards looked hard to get.

The Random

It’s OK to be upset with that loss and think this team won’t reach the lofty goals they’ve rightfully set for themselves before the season. A lot of fans are saying something along the lines of “well, the season isn’t over, MSU struggles in the non-conference and ends up just fine!” And yeah, that’s right. They’ve struggled against teams like Notre Dame (see last year) or Oregon (see that Marcus Mariota game). OK, those are two solid teams. This was Herm Edwards and the Arizona State Sun Devils.

This team has now stolen a home win against Utah State and lost to an ASU team that scored 16 points. This team is flawed in the trenches on both sides. The coverage desperately misses Josiah Scott.

Indiana start time is under the lights in two weeks.

Matt Morrissey killed a guy.

Josh Butler likes to dance.

LJ Scott and Jake Hartbarger, who left the game with injuries, will be OK according to Dantonio.

Alright, how does the rest of this season go? I say 8-4, and you’re crazy if you think this offensive and defensive line can do enough to win against OSU, UM and/or Penn State.

Poll

What’s MSU’s final record this season?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    11-1
    (21 votes)
  • 7%
    10-2
    (54 votes)
  • 30%
    9-3
    (213 votes)
  • 25%
    8-4
    (177 votes)
  • 22%
    7-5
    (154 votes)
  • 4%
    6-6
    (34 votes)
  • 5%
    5-7 or worse
    (38 votes)
691 votes total Vote Now

Enjoy the bye week, and Go Green!