For the first time this season, we have a recap blog that wasn’t 100 percent fun. This past Saturday, Michigan State got its first loss of the season when Purdue defeated the Spartans in West Lafayette, 40-29.
HOWEVA, there is still some good stuff to write about. Oh, there’s a bunch of bad, but we’ll start this little piece by looking at the grand scheme of things.
Hey, listen, it was not a fun afternoon watching this game. Watching your team lose is never enjoyable. HOWEVER, allow me to lecture you on something you may already have turned to — the big picture.
If you offered me before the season that this team would be 8-1, have Paul Bunyan and have opposing fans storm the field after beating them...my goodness, I would’ve given up at least one kidney to see that happen.
This team not only had a lot of question marks going into the season, but also an over/under win total of 4.5 in Las Vegas. And, besides, it’s historical canon that top-10 teams have a hard time playing Purdue and leaving with a win. It’s just one of those weird college football truths that exist in our world. Plus, Michigan State still controls its own destiny.
Oh, and not only has the season already exceeded expectations, but there’s also...
Kenneth Walker III. Just a pedestrian (sarcasm) 156 rushing yards and one touchdown. He should’ve gotten more than five touches in the second half, but that’s not on him. He had another great game that keeps him alive in the Heisman hunt.
There was moderate concern from a small group that Walker’s Heisman dreams are now dashed, but I don’t think that’s true. He’s still leading the nation in rushing yards (1,340) and is tied for second in touchdowns (15). Not only that, but look around to the other candidates. It’s not like Bryce Young lit the world up against a bad LSU defense or Matt Corral went crazy against Liberty over the weekend. Walker’s status is still as good as it could be for a running back at this point in the season.
Random tidbit, but I love the team utilizing Maliq Carr the last two weeks. It hasn’t been a lot, but the Spartans are finding a role for him after the big transfer started the season injured. Carr is going to be a fun weapon not just for the rest of this season, but for the next few years as well.
And the run defense was fantastic, as many predicted. MSU’s run stopping has been good all season, and Purdue’s run offense is abysmal. They bottled up the Boilermakers to just 1.9 yards per carry, but it ultimately didn’t matter as...
The passing defense finally completely broken. Yeah, this blog isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Actually, as I was typing that sentence, Aidan O’Connell just completed another 21-yard pass up the sideline to David Bell.
There’s no sense of nitpicking who is at fault here between the scheme and defensive back play — when a guy throws for 536 yards, it’s a little bit of everyone’s fault. Scheme. Players. Ball boys. Just everyone.
This whole season, Michigan State has worked the “bend don’t break” philosophy to near perfection...but we just saw what happens when the breaking happens. And we’re not even talking giving up touchdowns in the red zone either...
We also have to talk about third-down conversions. Michigan State didn’t just break on third downs — the Spartans shattered. And that’s becoming a pattern lately as the same thing happened against Indiana and Michigan. When it was third down on Saturday, you could just go ahead and move the chains no matter the yardage.
We talked about it in the 3-2-1 Preview last week, but that was the number one key to the game — getting off the field. MSU just simply couldn’t do it as Purdue, at one point, was 10-for-13 on third down. The Boilermakers ended 11-for-18 on the afternoon. It was bad and head-banging annoying, but not as aggravating as...
Pre-snap punt penalties, for the 100th time this season. The punt unit did it four times against Rutgers and got away with it luckily. It happened again against Indiana and, once again, luckily Michigan State still won.
But this time it actually did bite MSU, and it bit the Spartans badly. Instead of a fantastic punt by Bryce Barringer that was downed at the two-yard-line, MSU drew an illegal motion penalty and had to re-kick. That next punt was brought back to midfield, setting up great field position for the Boilermakers, as they scored just four plays later to make it 21-7.
It’s inexcusable. It’s Week Nine and, and off the top of my head, that’s the sixth pre-snap punt penalty of the season. How does that happen? I have no idea, but I do know that when it happens it can absolutely shoot yourself in the foot.
As if MSU didn’t have enough people on the injury report (Jarrett Horst, Jalen Nailor, Matt Coghlin, Cal Haladay wearing a club, the backup kicker wearing a club, etc), it appears Chuck Brantley may be out for the season (we have not confirmed, but the below tweet might be hinting toward that).
And let’s jump sports here, because this is nonsense. Exhibition games on BTN+, whatever. But Big Ten Network gatekeeping regular season games and putting it on BTN+ sucks.
UPDATE: Our game vs Eastern Michigan on 11/20 will tip at 5 PM ET on B1G+. pic.twitter.com/auOdc34rjX— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) November 8, 2021
Hey, Saturday wasn’t a total day of defeat for people donning the Spartan logo.
Let’s take a look at bowl projections, and they’re still in great shape.
Yahoo Sports: Peach Bowl vs. Notre Dame
Athlon Sports: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
And let’s get our minds off of football for a hot second, BECAUSE IT’S ALSO HOOPS SEASON. Here’s a look at why you should (or shouldn’t) be pumped for the upcoming season.
ALRIGHTY GANG, there is a home game against Maryland coming up on Saturday. And it’s in the best time slot of all-time — 4 p.m. LET’S HAVE OURSELVES A WEEK.