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The Good, The Bad, The Random in MSU football’s blown lead vs. Penn State

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That one flat-out sucked

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Happy weekend and happy halftime if you’re reading this during the MSU-Oakland game!

Not going to lie, yesterday’s loss sucked. Not great seeing a double-digit lead evaporate to a double-digit loss within 30 minutes of game time.

Let’s try to make sense of it.

THE GOOD

The offense for the first half was great, which is one more half than I would have guessed. Payton Thorne is clearly the guy heading into the 2021 season and its his job to lose. He looked poised, threw an accurate ball on intermediate routes and also a beautiful deep ball to Jalen Nailor. Jordan Simmons was back looking great.

And how about that for a first career catch by Tre’Von Morgan?

I was a little surprised how underutilized he was this season but, hey, even just this one catch puts him on the radar for go-to skill players next season.

THE BAD

There’s a lot to unpack here. This one stings because this one felt very, very winnable.

I’ll start with what’s got my goat and been getting my goat for years. How on earth is special teams this awful, year in and year out? These problems have transcended this team and coaching staff — poor special teams play is practically part of MSU’s identity.

Letting up two punt returns for a touchdown this season, never getting remotely close to blocking a punt, never coming close to a decent punt return when its the Spartans’ turn to get the ball. It’s as baffling as it is back-breaking.

Listen, we all get this roster isn’t laced with All-Big Ten talent. And Mel Tucker’s comments about having to recruit better aren’t a lie or a shock.

But this roster also isn’t the reason you are letting James Franklin out-scheme you en route to a 29-3 beating in the second half. The roster isn’t making you hand the ball off to the wrong running back to start a first-and-goal situation at the five-yard-line.

Pretty odd to see the defense have that bad of a showing this season. They took Penn State’s passing game — which has been rough all season — and turned them into a combined 20/30, 286 yard performance. Again, the offense isn’t absolved from any fault here as they scored just three points in the second half, but the defense left a lot to be desired in Happy Valley.

I don’t know if it was the cleats or the playing surface itself, but MSU slipping a combined 5,000 times on Saturday didn’t help things.

THE RANDOM

BIG TEN CHAMPIONS WEEK IS UPON US, and we’ve got some Spartans After Dark BABY!!!!

This looks like a really fun stretch of football. Good competitive matchups all over the board (minus the Big Ten Championship Game and probably Penn State-Illinois). I’m already pumped for next Saturday.

Hey, happy early signing day (Wednesday) week! As it stands on 247Sports right now the Spartans have the No. 41 class in the nation with the staff hard at work trying to flip kids from across the country. Namely, four-star USC commit Ma’a Gaoteote.

If that happens, that’s obviously the good news. The not-so-good news is that the three crown jewels of the class in four-stars RB Audric Estime, OL Geno VanDeMark and DL Rayshaun Benny will wait until February to sign. Not the end of the world, but it also (obviously) means that anything can happen in the next two months.

Have to say, at least MSU didn’t lose like Florida did last night.

This tweet by Minnesota would have been great.

But they deleted it. How soft is that? If you’re going to bring the heat, stand by it. Nebraska made themselves the villain this year. Stand by your trash talk and give the people what they want.

GO GREEN GANG, just one more game to go. Let’s finish somewhat strong,