EAST LANSING — In a game where the Spartan defense thoroughly dominated, their offense was nowhere to be found. Sure, they beat ASU in just about every statistical category possible, but at the end of the day, not enough plays were made.
MSU’s offense was undisciplined (six accepted penalties for 36 yards) throughout the game, including their final attempt at overtime with too many men on the field.
There’s simply no excuse, and at this point, the “lack of execution” justification for the offense has been played out. Having said that, this isn't entirely on them.
“I fumbled away one that probably would have been a touchdown,” said Brian Lewerke when asked what the biggest problem was when it came to finishing drives. “We get down there, and penalties pushed us back out of third and longs and made it difficult.”
It might feel like the same offense from 2018, but it isn't. Last season the Spartans didn't lose games after gaining 23 first downs and pocketing 404 yards of offense. What should be taxing on fans is the absence of points — the absence of finishing drives.
Since 2016 the Spartans have recorded 19 losses while scoring an average of 15.4 points in those games. Trust me, we know how it looks, but all hope isn't lost.
There’s been an improvement since week one. Contrary to what people might think now, MSU did have some big plays on offense — they moved the ball several times due to tough throws and catches. These are things that weren't happening last year. However, penalties, poor execution, missed field goals, and a few dropped passes will set you back.
“It’s different. We put up yards. We got first downs. It felt different than Tulsa, but we’re not too concerned,” said Lewerke. “Obviously we’ve gotta put points on the board, but we had some good things we were doing too.
It wasn’t like they didn't move the ball.
“We had 400 some odd yards. We got close to scoring, we just gotta score,” said Lewerke.
Still, points are what wins you games. Tonight fans saw a certain level of improvement — plays that weren't made in the past, but it’s time to take the next step and until they do fans should expect more of the same.
Tough losses like today.
- Dantonio needs to stop trying to play “hot hand” with the running backs. How much more does he need to see out of Heyward and Jefferson before realizing Elijah Collins needs to be on the field, especially in crucial situations. For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to hand the ball off to Heyward on fourth-and-1.
- Are the yards to points ratio a fluke for the offense? Maybe, but fans saw some success on that side of the ball today, it just wasn't resulting in long drives for touchdowns. Something always seemed to get in the way.
- Lewerke played well today despite the loss. He made some great throws in tough situations.
- The defense is still excellent, but was asked to do way too much (not exactly a hot take).