Ugh, that was hard to watch. Last week against Washington, we were beat handily by a team that was clearly more talented than us. This week, we had stretches of playing well, but we made way too many mistakes. 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles, 1 missed FG, allowing a fake punt to extend a Maryland drive, dropped passes (8 according to the broadcast), bad penalties. I think we beat ourselves just as much as Maryland beat us, if not more. That being the case, it was almost more unbearable to watch than last week’s game. Let’s see how masochistic you all are and how much you all endured.
How much of today’s game did you watch?
This poll is closed
I stopped watching by the end of the first quarter.
I stopped watching by halftime.
I stopped watching by the end of the third quarter.
I made it to the end of the game.
Ever the optimist that I am, I am taking some positives from this game. The biggest one, and this can not be stated lightly, is that this team is not quitting. They played tough for four quarters despite the deficit they were in since Maryland’s first drive. They were without a lot of big names today, they have been embroiled in a coaching controversy, and they were coming off an absolute beatdown a week ago; many were speculating that this team was going to mail it in. That definitely did not happen. This team was out there making plays and giving great effort for the entire four quarters. They are not giving up on this season or on this coaching staff or on their teammates. They were much more competitive today than they were a week ago. If this team can get some of the guys back from injuries and learn to cut down on the self-inflicted injuries, I expect them to win some games this season still.
The second positive I took from this game is the play of running back Nathan Carter. With injuries to the other main players in the running back room, Carter has been getting just about all of the carries for MSU. Today, MSU had 31 rushes in the box score; 11 of them were QB keeps and one was by Jordon Simmons. The other 19 were by Carter, and he took those for 97 yards, good for a 5.1 average. On top of that, he also hauled in 5 catches for 23 yards, tying him for 2nd on the team in receptions. He is the most important player on this offense at this point and he showed today that he is capable of the workload. He just needs to make sure he does not turn the football over anymore.
Defensively, there were some notable performances. The secondary kept Tagovailoa to just 223 yards in the air. None of you would have believed that could happen if I told you that before the game. Angelo Grose had a pretty interception in the back of the endzone. Freshman Chance Rucker, despite being picked on, had a pair of passes broken up. And Dillon Tatum lead the team in tackles while also contributing a PBU. Yes, this unit is not perfect, but there is talent there. Hopefully the coaching staff, especially now with Dantonio back to help out, can continue to get improvements from them week to week.
So Michigan State falls to 2-2 on the season. Next week we finally leave Spartan Stadium and travel to Iowa for a night game. If Coach Barnett can draw on the positives from today’s loss and lead MSU in a strong week of practice, maybe, just maybe, MSU can get back in the win column and stay above .500. But if we come out flat again and allow our opponent to jump out to an early lead, the task may be too tall on the road.
This team isn’t giving up so I am not giving up on them. Also, I am getting paid not to. But I think this team is going to show us something still and they will be more entertaining than they were in the first month. Stay tuned, TOC Nation.