Hey, not a bad start to the Big Ten season!
Our Spartans went down to Bloomington and we all know the rest. A good ol’ 35-21 victory that showed a lot of good, and just a little bit of bad.
Let’s get into it.
This was a great game for the defensive line, who has struggled the first two games to get a consistent pass rush. Our Spartans delivered four sacks and nine tackles for loss, led by Kenny Willekes and Andrew Dowell each having one sack and two TFLs.
Speaking of a great front seven, here are two fun tweets to read.
MSU has given up 98 rushing yards.— John Kirby (@john_kirby) September 23, 2018
This is good. Indiana came in with three straight 200+ yard games, ASU ran for 200+ in their first game and 164 last night vs Wash, and Utah St is averaging 241 yards rushing in their games since MSU. https://t.co/JAPqQS6n3t— Matt Hoeppner (@matthoeppner) September 23, 2018
Let’s talk about these two tricks plays that helped grow the lead to 28-7.
The Sparty Special!@MSU_Football opens up the playbook twice in the red zone and caps their drive with kicker @MatthewCoghlin receiving the option pitch from @brianlewerke14 for a TD. pic.twitter.com/kuHwoUTBfB— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 23, 2018
On that first one, you can tell Cody White played quarterback in his school. That wasn’t some floating balloon of a pass you see on these Philly Special re-creations. That was a bullet to the back shoulder, and credit Brian Lewerke for hauling that in there.
The option on the field goal, I have yet to watch it without laughing. Setting up a play where your kicker has to take an option pitch and take it to the brick yard. What a ridiculous concept. I love it.
Speaking of options, and I have no concrete stat for this or anything, but Brian Lewerke is really, really good at running the option.
We now know why Jalen Nailor’s nickname is “Speedy.” That 75-yard touchdown run came at such a clutch time too when Indiana just made it a seven-point MSU lead. With the way MSU’s run game has been, running out the clock might have not worked.
And lastly, how on earth do you cover Felton Davis?
Felton Davis with one hand..this guy catches just about everything, has a big catch radius and great body control. Love what I see from him on a weekly basis. #Spartans #GoGreen pic.twitter.com/fjgZ5zjTz7— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) September 23, 2018
Davis isn’t good. He isn’t great. He’s elite.
The run game has yet to get off the ground this season, and Indiana’s mediocre run defense was a great chance to finally get it rolling. It did not.
If you take away Jalen Nailor’s game-icing 75-yard score, MSU’s running game was pedestrian. Connor Heyward and La’Darius Jefferson combined for 57 yards on 22 carries, good for 2.6 yards per carry. It’s starting to become hard to imagine MSU figures out the run game any time soon — it’s been that underwhelming this season.
I can’t tell if we are just getting trolled with some of this play calling, or if Dave Warner and Co. actually thought a jet sweep with Brandon Sowards to the short side of the field on 3rd and 2 from the five yard line was actually a good idea.
And hey guys, literally everyone knows the option is coming on when you line up in shotgun on short yardage situations. If I know that sitting in my house in Michigan, odds are professional defensive coaches at the game and their players know that too.
Lewerke had a few passes I’m sure he would’ve loved to have back. Between sailing a few early passes to wide-open Darrell Stewart or throwing a pick inside your own 10 yard line, it was almost confusing to see that happen. He didn’t have a terrible game, so I feel bad putting this in “the bad” category. Just some decisions and throws he had were bad and had to be noted.
The injury bug didn’t slow down, claiming Luke Campbell, Kevin Jarvis, Josh Butler, Darrell Stewart and Andrew Dowell throughout the game. No indication on the timeline of those injuries yet, but those are five key players that got dinged up.
Oh yeah, that’s right, this team does play at Spartan Stadium!
Can’t wait to be back in East Lansing for some Spartan football, it’s been a hot minute.
MSU likes them by the dozen.
Right before kickoff, MSU hoops got some big news in landing a commit in 4-star guard Rocket Watts. Read up more on him and what he could bring to MSU right here.
Let’s check in on Rutgers...
I learned that Old Dominion had a football team Saturday morning. Virginia Tech learned that you can lose to them on Saturday night. There won’t be a worse loss than that this season.
As always, celebrate the win and GO GREEN!