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The Good, The Bad, The Random in MSU football’s week one win over Utah State

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There was a lot of good, a little bit of bad and a healthy dose of random

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

Ohhhhhhh baby, we are back!

MAN IS IT GREAT. Who cares if it was a tight win? THERE WAS NEVER A SINGLE DOUBT! (just don’t ask the people sitting around me how I was feeling that fourth quarter)

We’re back for another season of The Good, The Bad, The Random recaps after all the games.

Let’s jump into it, gang.

The Good

Felton Davis is — and this isn’t even a hot take — an elite college receiver. Without him, MSU doesn’t win that game. Period.

The touchdown pass to end the first half to Davis was a classic “just throw it in my general vicinity and I’ll get it” grab. His diving catch for 31 yards to put MSU right outside the red zone on the game-winning drive? I mean, come on.

Cody White too. He led the team with 70 receiving yards and that great adjustment to reel in the first touchdown of the season. Oh, and he doesn’t just catch either...

Brian Lewerke, I thought, was good on the game. Yeah, he had some bad moments like the pick-six to bring the game back to Panic Mode and a few passes where he could have taken another second or two to get settled. But with the way the line was playing, a little urgency was maybe justified.

Overall, Lewerke had a solid game evading sacks, throwing for 287 yards on 23/33 passing and also bringing down some dicey shotgun snaps.

Of course, Joe Bachie. I mean, this truly goes without saying for his final play of the game alone.

But besides that, what did he really do? Oh yeah — lead the team with 11 tackles and producing 1.5 tackles for loss. Incredible start for the star linebacker.

Connor Heyward was clearly MSU’s best running back of the game, scoring two touchdowns and picking up 42 yards on five carries. Oh, and that speed option him and Lewerke were running at the end of the game? More of that, please.

And three cheers for kicking! Matt Coghlin got this season started off on the right foot (pun absolutely intended) with 3-3 kicking with a long of 49 yards. And kickoff man Cole Hahn? Fantastic outing with six touchbacks on eight attempts.

However *commercial break* I don’t get why MSU booted the ball out of the end zone when they kicked off from midfield with two minutes left. If you’re that close, why not try to pooch it inside the ten and — provided your kickoff team can run — try to bring the returner down inside the 15 yard line? To me it seems like a good idea, but maybe this is another time I’m wrong.

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

The Bad

The offensive line was...yikes. They were missing Brian Allen for sure between the cohesiveness and the play from the center position alone. Between the quarterback pressures and the stalled run game that was partially on them, a quick turnaround is needed for the game in the desert this Saturday.

LJ Scott has had better games. Just 84 yards on 23 carries (and only two runs longer than five yards) left a bit to be desired, but that’s a familiar stat line to last year’s opener when he ran for 39 yards on 15 carries. For a good chunk of plays it looked like he was trying to pull a Le’Veon Bell and be patient behind the line. Well, sometimes there was no hole that was developing and by the time he went through there was already three Aggies ready to maul him.

Part of this sub-par performance could be on LJ, and part could be on the line. Regardless, this needs to be ironed out. I don’t think we’re at DEFCON-1 levels yet of panic since the Aggies returned their entire front seven from last season and the MSU offensive line is replacing its best player. But still...

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

Hey, let’s not do the thing where we basically erase touchdowns with penalties. This win could have been a lot more comfortable to look back on if it wasn’t for two penalties on the one yard line — one on a false start and another on an illegal formation. Instead of an easy 14 points with a one yard touchdown, MSU failed on both 3rd-and-goal on the six yard line attempts and settled for six points.

Cramping issues in 76 degree weather isn’t great. With a game that’s supposed to be around 103 degrees at kickoff the next weekend? Now that’s alarming. I hope these guys are crushing water and Gatorade like they just got back from a Rick’s bender this week. Minus the Rick’s bender.

The Random

My unsolicited two cents. On a scale of 1-10 with one being not worried at all and 10 being “Fire Dantonio” panic levels, my panic level is about a 4.

Poll

Where is your panic level at after week one?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    10 (super panicked)
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    9
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    8
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    7
    (40 votes)
  • 10%
    6
    (84 votes)
  • 18%
    5
    (146 votes)
  • 14%
    4
    (110 votes)
  • 30%
    3
    (235 votes)
  • 12%
    2
    (100 votes)
  • 4%
    1 (not even barely a little worried)
    (38 votes)
780 votes total Vote Now

Yeah, they escaped with a final drive win against a Mountain West team. And — I’m not calling the Aggies a world-beater — but that’s a good team that came into East Lansing. Utah State came in with an entire offensive line, defensive front seven and passing game weapons that returned from last season.

And why else should we feel not-panicked about this opener? Well...

This happens a lot around these parts.

Yeah, we’ve seen that movie before.

Hey, this is pretty neat. 20 straight home opening victories for MSU!

Next week’s opponent is the Arizona State Fighting Herm Edwards, as many of us know. They walloped UTSA 49-7 and the guy everyone will be freaking out over — wide receiver N’Keal Harry — had 140 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Their running back, Eno Benjamin, also scampered for 131 yards on 16 carries.

So, this game could be a toughy — especially with weather and the late kickoff to the BODY CLOCKS happening,

The spread is...MSU by 7.5. Are you taking the points, or laying them in a bed of money?

Poll

Who do you got this Saturday?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    MSU -7.5
    (271 votes)
  • 51%
    ASU +7.5
    (291 votes)
562 votes total Vote Now

And if you’ll be in Tempe for the game next weekend, read the full “Storm the Desert” rundown before you head out.

Be sure to celebrate the week one win, and Go Green!