For the sixth time in eight years, your Michigan State Spartans have kicked off the season 2-0.
Sure, it wasn’t necessarily a game against Alabama, but that doesn’t matter right now. A win over Youngstown State is still a win, 2-0 is 2-0, baby, and the Spartans are looking pretty good! Oh, and, head coach Mel Tucker says the team is hungry for more.
You know the drill — let’s talk about this one.
Let’s just take it from the top — what a way to start the game. Fans are back in the stands. “Swag Surfin’” is piping through the stadium. And WHA-BAM, HOW ABOUT ANOTHER 75-YARD TOUCHDOWN TO START THE GAME? Perfection right out of the gate on the flea-flicker from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed.
AND SPEAKING OF PAYTON THORNE, what a game from the youngster. He had 280 yards and four touchdowns, and looked mighty good doing it. The deep balls were on point. The decision making was risk-free. The scanning of the eyes, the progressions, etc. — you see why this kid was named the starter and, quite frankly, is making it impossible to question that call early on.
I like Kenneth Walker only getting seven touches. He still got a touchdown and absolutely dazzled on what was essentially a day off for him. And this run going for 24 yards?
Simply outrageous. I don’t care it’s an FCS defense. If you have four Division 5 high schoolers surrounding you like that, you should still not be able to turn that into 24 yards. But, HEY, here we are!
Sticking with running backs for a second, Jordan Simmons looks great as the No. 2 guy. A casual 121 yards on 16 carries. He was obviously fine last year and it was clear he was speedy and athletic, but his patience and vision already look like they’ve made some big steps. With Eli Collins ending the game in a walking boot, too, it’s clear that Simmons is the guy to spell Walker.
All right, without further ado we need to talk about defense. HOLY CRAP HOW DID XAVIER HENDERSON DO THIS?
Henderson ended his afternoon with that pick, a sack, a tackle for loss and a team-high eight tackles. The kid is a baller.
The front four was stout all game despite missing a key players in defensive ends Drew Beesley and Drew Jordan. Jeff Pietrowksi did fantastic in his spot and the unit as a whole did a great job at stifling the run game that was great for the Penguins last week. I get it — iT’s JuSt YoUngsToWN STatE — but that Jaleel McLaughlin kid is an athlete. They bottled him up to 36 yards on 13 carries. The Penguins could never get settled in on offense early enough for it to matter, and that is thanks to the front four.
Elijah Collins, Nick Samac, Anthony Russo and Maverick Hansen all left the game with lower body injuries, including Big Ten Network reporting Collins was in a walking boot to end the contest. Samac’s injury looked pretty rough, too, as he got rolled up and couldn’t put any weight on his leg. It was also reported that Anthony Russo left the stadium in a boot and crutches, so his time in East Lansing has only gotten more unfortunate.
Also, holy smokes, can we pump the brakes on the flags? Jarrett Horst is a mighty fine left tackle, but my goodness, this man is going for a single season record in penalty yards already. Luckily, the penalties didn’t matter on Saturday, but sooner than not those 10-yard flags will not be easy to skate by on.
Again, I’m nit-picking here and it didn’t even influence the outcome of the game. But lining up for that 50-yard field goal was...odd? It was maybe the only barely tense moment of the game as Youngstown State scored to open up the half and make it 35-14. MSU is staring at fourth-down-and-four and — despite averaging more than eight yards per carry to that point — sends Matt Coghlin out there to attempt a 50-yarder.
I get you want the guy to have game reps and, in theory, build his confidence up, but I just don’t see how a 50-yarder on a breezy day is helping that. ALL WELL, WHO CARES? DIDN’T EVEN MATTER IN THE END.
We don’t get to do this often, but let’s bury Ohio State for a second. Going up against an Oregon team that’s missing its top two defenders — including a likely top-five NFL pick in the upcoming draft in Kayvon Thibodeaux— that’s playing at 9 a.m. for their BODY CLOCKS? No, no, no. That is inexcusable.
With that said...yes I am guilty of letting my mind wander and believe that MSU can beat Ohio State. Yes, that is delusional. No, I will not stop until further notice. Appreciate your understanding.
I was always excited to get down to Miami next Saturday, but this just took it over the top. We’ve got cat high wire/rescue/general confusion going on at Hard Rock Stadium? SAY NO MORE!!
Hey, speaking of Miami, let’s get a quick vibe check. Michigan State is obviously 2-0 against some admittedly not-so-great opponents. Miami got throttled by a semi-pro team in Week One and then squeaked one out against App State on Saturday night.
So where are you at now? Hopeful for the game? Not so much?
How has your view on the Miami game changed?
I’ve always thought MSU could win
I am now hopeful, finally
Still not holding my hopes up high
If you were looking for literally any highlights of the Michigan vs. Washington game, this is the best we’ve got for you.
Gang, as always, let’s celebrate this one. GO GREEN!