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

We have thoughts.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Arizona State at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No intro today.

Let’s just get into it.


The offense was fine except for one key stat. North of 400 yards of offense. Brian Lewerke, for the most part, looked pretty sharp. Darrell Stewart is insanely good. Both Lewerke and Stewart created late-game magic that should’ve put the game in overtime if there was just somewhat competent coaching.

The one stat that wasn’t great? Just seven points. Again.

Jake Hartbarger’s leg is insane. Four punts for a 45 yard average. He bailed MSU out late in the game when they conservative and backed up Arizona State on their own 25 after a booming punt and flag.

Anthony Williams Jr. should be getting more carries. There are two running backs who should be touching the ball — Williams and Eli Collins.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Arizona State at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The defense was once again outstanding. I don’t know how the defense keeps doing this. Playing your ass off and delivering greatness only to be dealt losses has to get old, like, four games ago. Sure, no turnovers, they gave up a huge play on the final drive and let up a 4th and 13 too. Who cares? A defense gives you 10 points to work with at home, you should be winning games easily.

All expectations are significantly lowered. I would rather be shocked by MSU exceeding low expectations in Big Ten play than disappointed by them not reaching high expectations in Big Ten play. How’s that for a spin zone?


Coaching. The coaching was awful. On a day where MSU should’ve celebrating Mark Dantonio becoming the all-time wins leader, we got the exact opposite.

How do you not have the field goal team and offense ready with 11 seconds left in the game? How does that sequence end with Coghlin lining up his kick with three seconds left on the play clock as the offense fails to even get off the field?

Why are you putting in a running back that can never, ever get meaningful yards on 4th and 1 in the second half? Why is your far-and-away best running back only getting 19 touches?

How, after three consecutive timeouts, do you not have a spy on a dual threat quarterback on 4th and 13?

That was a horrible, horrible job by the coaching staff. Make good, obvious decisions of who should be playing and when. Make sure your team is prepared for late-game situations. That game could have been won in five different ways, and the coaching staff chose none of them.

The kicking was obviously bad, but two things I want to add. 1) No favors were done to Coghlin with two penalties during kicks he otherwise made. 2) He will bounce back. He’s still one of the best kickers in the Big Ten.

Yeah the refs were awful, but whatever. You should be able to beat Arizona State at home regardless of how bad the officiating is. The refs didn’t make MSU run a fire drill at the end of the game to botch the game-tying kick.

Could MSU have won without a handful of questionable outright horrible calls? Yeah, probably. Did they also get in their own way the whole afternoon? Yeah, they did.

Anyone that’s justifying this loss or saying fans are out of line for being pissed off, please stop adding your input. If anyone wants to trot out the “Oh, John L and Bobby Williams were way worse, you should be happy with these days” argument, please shut up. That’s the weirdest argument I keep seeing from some people. Just because a coaching regime was horrible 15 years ago doesn’t mean we should be happy with mediocrity today.

It’s perfectly OK to be upset with a championship-level defense being wasted once again. It’s OK to be upset after the fifth one-touchdown game in the last seven outings. It’s OK to expect more from a team that should achieve more.

If you’re OK with watching this and being content with another 7-6 season, what are you doing? Have some standards for a team that should reach them.


I’m still in no mood to have a fun little “random” section. That’s quite literally one of the worse losses I’ve ever seen from MSU football. I’m usually over losses by the next morning, but this one is different.

This game was blown by the coaching staff. This game was just another example of this program trending in the wrong direction. This game meant that we are now 0-2 against Arizona State and couldn’t get out of a remarkably easy non-conference slate. And, more importantly, this game showed we are closer to another 2018 than we are another 2015. It was horrible seeing the defense be wasted last year — this year it’s downright upsetting.

Here are some random thoughts on other Big Ten games you didn’t ask for:

  • At least we’re not Illinois fans?
  • Or Purdue fans?
  • Or Minnesota fans, assuming they’ve all perished from heart attacks after the rockiest 3-0 start I’ve ever seen.

I’ve got nothing else. I’m sorry. Go Green.