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The Good, The Bad, The Random in MSU football’s loss to Penn State

This isn’t fun for anyone

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Penn State at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Basketball starts tomorrow with a scrimmage against Albion at 7 p.m. on Big Ten Plus.


Let’s just talk about the acceptance of having something called “expectations.” If you don’t think it’s time for change now after the third straight loss that was over by halftime, you just never will. And I’m genuinely sorry for you if your fandom has come to settling for Redbox and Pinstripe Bowls and being fine with it.

It’s one thing to lose to three ranked teams – it’s another to not even be competitive in any of them, especially the one at home that came off a bye week. It’s one thing to stumble to the finish line of a fringe bowl season – it’s another thing to do it for the second season in a row off a 10-win 2017 season where a team only had five contributing seniors. It’s one thing to have a broken offense – it’s another thing to have a downward trending offense for the last few seasons and know your head coach will do quite literally almost nothing to change it.

Penn State v Michigan State Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

“But Mark came into this program when 7-5 was a good season!! You would be happy with this if it was a John L Smith season!!” OK…but it’s not. Those days were 15 years ago. Since then we’ve seen heights of marquee bowl games. We’ve seen the heights of being the king of the state. We’ve seen the heights of not only winning big games, but at least being competitive in them. And now we aren’t any of those and, quite frankly, you’re out of your mind if you think we can get back to those days with this regime. And it’s all because of stubbornness and inaction.

It didn’t have to be like this, but now it is. And now we have two choices as a fan – settle for mediocrity or want to chase greatness again. I’ll choose option B.

So now that we’re done talking about the macro problem, let’s get micro and talk about the game itself. What are these decisions the coaches are making? A field goal down 13 points in a rain storm with a kicker that, to be honest, can’t be trusted? When your offense can barely make it past the 50 yard line in the first place? That turned out as well as it could. I’ll cut the coaching staff an ounce of slack because it was 4th and 11, but still, there were better odds of picking up the first down than their was a) that kick going in and b) that kick meaning anything if it was made.

What should be taken to task is how they’ve handled the quarterback circus rotations in the second half. Here are some viable options (that they didn’t take) for how they could’ve handled it:

1) Keep Brian Lewerke in the game because you know, no matter what, he’s still your best option

2) When you do sub him out, go straight to Theo Day and quit lying to yourselves and acting like he isn’t the second-best quarterback on this team.

3) Once you have switched to the “We don’t trust our starting quarterback anymore today, it’s time to give the young kid some run” plan, don’t go back to your starting quarterback you don’t trust anymore and bench the young quarterback you’re trying to get reps for. And when you do swap him out, don’t hide behind the “he didn’t give us the best chance to score” BS.

Mark, your own coaching staff doesn’t give this team the best chance to score. Seventeen points in the last three games. Benching your starting quarterback. And suddenly the quarterback who just completed two passes is benched because he doesn’t give you a chance to score.

He’s got zero grip of the situation. Bench your starting quarterback, play your backup that is very clearly not the quarterback of the future, sub him out for a third string quarterback that was doing not terrible, bench him for the starter, and then bench the starter again for the backup that went 1/6 passing. Like...what? Try reading that sequence and telling me the coach hasn’t lost his marbles with a straight face.

We will never see a competent punt returner ever again. I’m just fully convinced of it.


MSU vs. Illinois will be at 3:30 on FS1. I will, sadly and for reasons I can’t even explain to myself, be at this mess and miss the LSU-Alabama game. This fandom is a sickness.

I’ve fully convinced myself that the Quick Lane Bowl won’t be that bad. Come on — get to go to your favorite metro-Detroit watering hole, hop in a Lyft and go see MSU put this season away to the tune of a 14-10 game against a MAC team.


Can you convince yourself that the Quick Lane Bowl isn’t THAT bad?

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  • 31%
    Yes I can
    (128 votes)
  • 68%
    (284 votes)
412 votes total Vote Now

Speaking of bowl games, let’s look at some projections...

CBS Sports is feeling the Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pitt.

ESPN has Pinstripe Bowl either against Pitt or Louisville.

247Sports has Quick Lane Bowl vs. Louisville.

Sporting News has us in the Pinstripe Bowl vs. North Carolina.

This has to be the cleanest swish in recorded history.

When the season started I was bummed there would be two byes within three weeks. Now? Boy howdy, it’s kind of exciting. And just healthy, really.

Enjoy the bye week gang, and Go Green!