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CFN Take: MSU Ruins Ohio State's Dream
Michigan State Spartans 2013 ... Head Coach: Mark Dantonio
Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24
| 2013 Record: 12-1 |
8/31 Western Mich W 26-13
9/7 USF W 21-6
9/14 Youngstown St W 55-17
9/21 at Notre Dame L 17-13
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 at Iowa W 26-14
10/12 Indiana W 42-28
10/19 Purdue W 14-0
10/26 at Illinois W 45-3
11/2 Michigan W 29-6
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 at Nebraska W 41-28
11/23 at Northwestern W 30-6
11/30 Minnesota W 14-3
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP
12/7 Ohio State W 34-24
Basically … Michigan State jumped out to a 17-0 lead on two Connor Cook touchdown passes on a 72-yard play to Keith Mumphery and a 33-yard play to Tony Lippett, and then answered an Ohio State scoring run with 17 unanswered points helped by a nine-yard pass to Josiah Price and salted away by a 26-yard Jeremy Langford run. The Buckeyes seemed to have all the momentum after Braxton Miller’s second touchdown run gave them a 24-17 lead, but a late drive was stalled by a Denicos Allen tackle of Miller on fourth-and short. The Spartans controlled the game from there.
- Ohio State was 1-of-10 on third down conversions and 0-for-2 on fourth downs. Michigan State was 5-of-15 on third downs and two-for-two on fourth.
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 8-of-21 passes for 101 yards and a score, and he ran 21 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Hyde ran 18 times for 118 yards.
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford made 24 times for 128 yards and a score.
- Michigan State QB Connor Cook completed 24-of-40 passes for 304 yards and three scores with a pick.
at Michigan State 14, Minnesota 3
Basically … Michigan State’s defense controlled the game forcing three Minnesota turnovers and only allowing a 21-yard Chris Hawthorne field goal in the second quarter. The Spartan offense got all the points it would need midway through the first quarter with a 15-yard Jeremy Langford run, and Josiah Price put the game away on a 12-yard touchdown catch in the third.
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford ran 21 times for 134 yards and a score.
- Minnesota RB Daniel Cobb ran 27 times for 101 yards
- Minnesota held the ball for 38:41, but turned it over three times and gained just 249 yards of total offense.
- Michigan State was 0-for-8 on third downs and missed on its only fourth down conversion try.
Michigan State 30, at Northwestern 6
Basically … Michigan State won the Legends and secured a spot in the Big Ten championship game with a big day from Jeremy Langford, who ran for scores from 20 and 37 yards out, and was helped by an 87-yard Bennie Fowler touchdown play late in the second quarter. After bungling a drive late in the first half, the Spartans owned the second scoring 16 unanswered points. Northwestern only managed Jeff Budzein field goals from 22 and 20 yards away.
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford ran 25 times for 150 yards and two scores, and caught two passes for 35 yards.
- Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian completed 25-of-43 passes for 227 yards, and led the team with 28 rushing yards. Kain Colter was knocked out of the game early with a targeting hit.
- Northwestern was -3 in turnover margin and finished with just 80 rushing yards.
- Michigan State QB Connor Cook completed 16-of-24 passes for 293 yards and two scores.
Michigan State 41, at Nebraska 28
Basically … Michigan State’s defense forced five turnovers in the school’s first ever win over Nebraska. Jeremy Langford scored on touchdown runs from six, three and 37 yards, and Keith Mumphery caught a 27-yard touchdown pass as MSU pushed ahead in the fourth quarter after Nebraska pulled within six on a 38-yard Kenny Bell catch to go along with a 51-yard Imani Cross scoring run. The Huskers tacked on a garbage time scoring catch from Ameer Abdullah from 12 yards out with ten seconds to play.
- Nebraska outgained Michigan State 392 yards to 361 and 182 rushing yards to 168.
- The Spartans held the ball for 38:37 to 21:23 and were +5 in turnover margin.
- Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah ran 22 times for 123 yards, and Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford ran 32 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
- Michigan State FS Kurtis Drummond led all defenders with ten tackles and a pick with a forced fumble.
at Michigan State 29, Michigan 6, Nov. 2
Basically … Michigan State maintained its recent dominance over in-state rival Michigan, serving up its most lopsided victory in the series since 1967. The Spartans allowed just two first-half field goals, keeping the high-powered Wolverines out of the end zone. Michigan State scored the game’s final 23 points, taking the lead for good on a Connor Cook to Bennie Fowler touchdown pass 23 seconds before halftime.
- Michigan was sacked seven times and finished the day with -48 yards rushing.
- RB Jeremy Langford was the offensive star for the Spartans, running 26 times for 120 yards and a touchdown.
- Michigan State produced 11 tackles for loss, including three apiece from Denicos Allen and Shilique Calhoun.
- The Wolverines were just 2-of-13 on third downs, compared to 9-of-18 for the Spartans.
Michigan State 42, Illinois 3
Basically … Illinois scored first on a 31-yard field goal from Taylor Zalewski and took the lead into the second quarter. And then it was all Michigan State as Connor Cook hit 15-of-16 throws with three touchdown passes including a 29-yarder to Bennie Fowler and a 47-yard play to Keith Mumphrey. The defense didn’t allow a thing, and the offense took advantage with Jeremy Langford running for 104 yards and scores from one and seven yards out. Illinois finished with 128 total yards.
- Total and complete domination. This was Michigan State hitting its stride at the right time, beating up the Illini with the running game and getting nearly-perfect day out of Connor Cook. How sharp was he? His 15 completions went to ten different receivers.
- Now on a four-game winning streak and with double-digit wins over all four Big Ten opponents, it’s time for the big boys with Michigan and Nebraska up next. Win those two, and it’s on to the Big Ten championship considering Northwestern is dying and Minnesota doesn’t have the overall talent. The D isn’t letting anyone do much of anything.
at Michigan State 14 … Purdue 0
Basically … Nothing worked for the Michigan State offense, but the defense did the job with Denicos Allen returning a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter for all the points needed. The Spartan offense showed up in the fourth quarter with a five-yard Andrew Gleichert touchdown catch, but it was a struggle.
- Welcome back, Michigan State offense. You were missed. Just when it seemed like a corner was turned, the Spartan offense failed to show up against a miserable Purdue defense, gaining just 294 yards of total offense and coming up with just one scoring drive. Fortunately, the defense, as always, never let this get interesting.
- There’s just no push from the Purdue offensive line. Michigan State is the wrong team to get the offense healthy, but there’s no room for the running game. Akeem Hunt ran for 43 yards on nine carries, but there was no flow to the attack. There wasn’t any ability to establish the ground game – there needs to be.
- Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better for the boilermakers with Ohio State up next. The defense might have come up with one of its best games of the season, but unless the offense finds anything that works, or if the D can’t start coming up with takeaways, it’s going to be another ugly week.
- The Spartan defense destroyed the Purdue offensive front. The pressure was coming from several sides with Shilique Calhoun the main man with one sack and constant pressure. The team came up with five sacks, and the production will have to continue to stop Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illinois offense next week.
at Michigan State 42, Indiana 28
Basically … Michigan State kept the Old Brass Spittoon thanks to four touchdowns from Jeremy Langford from runs from five, two and 32 yards away and an 11-yard scoring catch, but it was a 34-yard R.J. Shelton touchdown run that put it away in the fourth. Indiana scored first on a Spartan defensive gaffe, allowing Tevin Coleman take off for a 64-yard touchdown on the opening drive, and pulled within seven in the third on a two-yard Shane Wynn run, but Langford and Shelton put it away.
- Michigan State’s offense helped out a surprisingly mediocre day from the pass D. Indiana might have a high-powered offense, but the mistake on the opening drive 64-yard Tevin Coleman touchdown wasn’t the only misfire. Connor Cook was terrific for his second straight game, completing 22-of-31 passes for 235 yards and two scores with a pick, but it was Jeremy Langford who took over with 23 carries for 109 yards and three scores with a touchdown catch.
- Is there going to be a quarterback issue for IU? Nate Sudfeld struggled, completing just 14-of-30 passes, and Tre Roberson moved the offense a bit better completing 11-of-17 passes for 122 yards and two scores with a pick, while finishing second on the team with 20 rushing yards.
- How many net rushing yards did Indiana finish with outside of Coleman’s 64-yarder? 28. However, the Hoosiers were able to stay alive by hitting on a few key third down plays.
- The Michigan State defensive front only came up with two sacks – Shilique Calhoun came up with one – but the line generated pressure all game long. The IU quarterbacks were never settled.
Michigan State 26, at Iowa 14
Basically … Michigan State’s defense stepped up in the second half, while the offense took advantage of opportunities scoring 16 unanswered points with three Michael Geiger’s four field goals – with a 49-yarder set up by a fake punt – along with a 37-yard Bennie Fowler touchdown catch. Down 10-0 early after a 46-yard touchdown from Mcgarrett Kings Jr., Iowa got two Jake Rudock touchdown passes in the final few minutes of the first half. That was about it for a Hawkeye attack that was shut down after halftime.
- Michigan State has an … an … offense? It wasn’t exactly a juggernaut, but the attack actually moved the ball with Connor Cook throwing 44 times and cranking up 277 yards and two scores. To nitpick, settling for four field goals was a bit of a disappointment, but all the Spartan D needs is a little bit of a lead.
- Jake Rudock is a great-looking passer and playmaker, but Iowa isn’t going to win on a regular basis when he’s the leading rusher with 11 yards. Mark Weisman didn’t have any room to go anywhere, running seven times for nine yards.
- The entire Spartan defense stopped the Hawkeye O cold, but it was corner Darqueze Dennard who turned into the star with a team-leading eight tackles with two picks. Shilique Calhoun didn’t come up with any sacks, but he was in Jake Rudock’s face for most of the day.
- It doesn’t get much easier for Iowa with Ohio State, Northwestern and Wisconsin up next. The key will be to get the running game moving again and get the defense off the field. Iowa had the ball for just under 23 minutes.
at Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13
Basically … TJ Jones caught a two-yard touchdown pass and Cam McDaniel scored on a seven-yard run to get by a mistake-prone Michigan State. The Spartans got in the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown catch from Macgarrett Kings in the second quarter, but could only manage two Michael Geiger field goals in the second half. MSU
- Michigan State had chance after chance, but misfires in the passing game or penalties or bad plays proved too costly time and again. The Spartans were nailed for ten penalties for 115 yards, and the passing game struggles with Connor Cook completing half of his passes before getting knocked out with an apparent hand injury. Andrew Maxwell entered with a chance to lead the way to a late win, but he fired fastballs high and wide going 0-for-3, and he tried running for a first down on 4th-and-20.
- It wasn’t a thing of beauty for the Irish, but they got by on some timely tough runs and just enough key throws from Tommy Rees. He only completed 14-of-24 passes for 142 yards and a score, but against one of the nation’s nastiest defenses, he didn’t make any major mistakes. Turnovers were the key – the Irish didn’t give away any.
- There still isn’t enough of an Irish pass rush. Stephon Tuitt came up with a sack, but there weren’t nearly enough plays behind the line. Granted, the D didn’t need to take any chances, but the disruption wasn’t there.
- Zero. That’s how many sacks Michigan State came up with. Rees might not have been razor-sharp, but he got the ball out of his hands in hurry and didn’t hurt the team. Again, it wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
at Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17, Sept. 14
Basically … Michigan State’s offense finally started to work. The Spartans scored 21 first quarter points on two of Connor Cook’s four touchdown passes, and rolled up a 35-10 halftime lead and a 49-10 second-half advantage on the way to 547 yards of total offense. Nick Hill ran for a 35-yard score and Jeremy Langford had touchdown runs from three and two yards out.
- Youngstown State is Youngstown State, but the Michigan State offense really, really needed this. Connor Cook completed 15-of-22 passes for 202 yards and four scores, and the running game had no problems with 277 yards to almost perfectly balance out the passing attack. It might have only been one week, but at least the offense can work.
- The Spartan defense didn’t hold after a mistake, giving up a second quarter touchdown on a short field, but it didn’t exactly have to breathe hard. Shilique Calhoun continues to play like an All-American, providing pressure into the backfield time and again, and coming up with a sack with two tackles. He was always in the face of YSU QB Kurt Hess
at Michigan State 21, South Florida 6, Sept. 7
Basically … In a game that might have set back offenses a decade, the two teams combined for 420 total yards and one offensive touchdown. Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun returned a fumble four yards for a second quarter touchdown and took an interception 56 yards for a score in the third, but the offense finally broke the plane in the fourth on a two-yard Jeremy Langford touchdown run.
- Yeeeesh. The Michigan State offense is bad enough, but it can’t start turning the ball over. The two lost fumbles were just a part of the issue for an offense that can’t get anyone to respect the passing game. Nick Hill ran well, and the team barreled for 171 yards, but Connor Cook and Andrew Maxwell can’t hit their receivers on the move. The 12-of-24 part for the quarterbacks isn’t awful, but the 94 yards is a problem.
- Yeeeeeeeeeeesh. Michigan State’s defense is fantastic, but 6-of-26 passing for 66 yards of USF passing offense? Bobby Eveld might still be the best option, but Steven Bench deserves more of an honest shot. Outside of one big Marcus Shaw run, the ground game didn’t help the cause, either.
- But the defenses really were that good. DeDe Lattimore came up with 15 tackles for USF, and defensive end Shilique Calhoun came up with a classic for the Spartans.
- Considering the problems on offense, Michigan State punter Mike Sadler could be an MVP. He averaged 45.6 yards per kick and put four inside the 20, keeping USF pinned deep all day.
at Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13, Aug. 30
Basically … A long weather delay and a struggling Michigan State offense made it a sloppy game, but the Spartan D was terrific allowing just 11 rushing yards and coming up with a 21-yard Kurtis Drummond pick six and a 16-yard fumble return for a score from Shilique Calhoun. Western Michigan kept it close and came up with a 14-yard Clark Mussman touchdown catch, but MSU pit it away with 19 straight points.
- The Michigan State quarterback situation didn’t exactly become any clearer. Andrew Maxwell completed 11-of-21 passes for 74 yards, while Connor Cook only completed 6-of-16 throws and averaged 2.6 yards per pop.
- Jeremy Langford did a decent job running the ball as the new MSU main man, carrying it 20 times for 94 yards and a score.
-WMU’s Tyler Van Tubbergen only completed 6-of 20 passes with two picks before giving way to Zach Terrell. The Broncos didn’t get any help from the running game. There wasn’t any room to move.
- Kurtis Drummond might have come up with the pick six for the Spartans, but the two interceptions from Ed Davis were more impressive. Max Bullough was Max Bullough leading the team with nine tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss.
Why To Be Excited: Loaded, loaded, loaded. The Spartans were full of veterans last season, and while the 7-6 record might have been disappointing, five of the losses were by four points or fewer. The offense loses running back Le’Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims early to the NFL, but eight starters are back including four on a good line. Pass rusher William Gholston might be done, but eight starters return to the Big Ten’s best defense. After ranking fourth in the nation, the potential is there for the D to be even better.
Why To Be Grouchy: The O line might be terrific, and the defense might be nasty, and the passing game can’t help but be better, but can the team survive without Bell? He carried the offense to bail out one of the nation’s most inefficient passing games, and he’s going to be sorely missed with the smallish Nick Hill and junior Jeremy Langford needing to pick up the slack. It’s asking for the world for those two to combine to match Bell’s 1,793 rushing yards and 12 scores. Hill had the team’s only other rushing touchdown.
What Needs Working On: Can the receivers actually catch the ball, and is Andrew Maxwell going to be the one to throw it? It was the team’s Achilles’ heel last season, and it’s going to be the big concern and the big area of focus throughout spring ball. It wasn’t Maxwell’s fault that the passing game stunk – the receivers had an awful year – but a late drive in the win over Wisconsin was the only time he seemed able to find a groove. After completing just 6-of-15 passes for 28 yards against TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, he got the hook for Connor Cook, who led the way to the game-winning field goal but was miserable completing just 4-of-11 passes. To put it simply, the passing game has to be better.
Non-Conference Games: Western Michigan, USF, Youngstown State, at Notre Dame
Games Against The Leaders: at Illinois, Indiana, Purdue
Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 10-2
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Western Michigan, USF, Youngstown State, at Iowa, Indiana, Purdue, at Illinois, Michigan, at Northwestern, Minnesota
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Notre Dame, at Nebraska
Schedule Analysis: Michigan State, you can’t ask for anything more in interdivisional play than a road trip to Illinois to go along with home dates against Indiana and Purdue. There’s no Ohio State, no Penn State and no Wisconsin. There are several road battles to deal with, but there are also enough scheduling breaks to hope for a second trip to the Big Ten championship in three years. But first, there’s a little fight with the Irish in South Bend to deal with at the end of the four-game non-conference September. Western Michigan will be pesky, Youngstown State won’t be a problem and South Florida could be a bit of a fight, but a win over Notre Dame should mean an 8-0 start before Michigan comes to East Lansing.
Going to Iowa shouldn’t be a problem coming off a bye, and taking care of Indiana, Purdue and a road trip against Illinois should be walks in the park for anyone with Big Ten championship ambitions. The season should come down to the three game stretch against the Wolverines and road trips to Nebraska and Northwestern after getting a week off. Closing the season out at home against Minnesota isn’t exactly like dealing with Ohio State.
Team Concerns For 2013: Catch the ball, catch the ball, catch the ball. The defense was phenomenal and the ground game bruising, but the passing attack was an anchor with the league's most inefficient passing attack despite throwing for 210 yards per game. Andrew Maxwell has to step up and become a steadier starting quarterback, but more than anything else, he needs his receivers to actually make the grabs and come up with more big plays. Replacing Le'Veon Bell is going to be tough for a ground game that carried the O at times, but if the passing attack starts to work a bit better, that will pick up the slack. Defensively, as good as the Spartans were finishing first in the league in most of top categories, the pass rush has to be better despite the early loss of William Gholston to the NFL.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebacker. It's going to be a tough time for Spartan fans with next door neighbor Michigan coming up with one of the greatest classes in the school's prestigious history. MSU has a few decent players coming in led by big bombing quarterback Damion Terry out of Pennsylvania and offensive tackle Dennis Finley from Detroit. Kicker Michael Geiger is a better get than it might appear, and running backs R.J. Shelton and Gerald Holmes will be brought along right away, but the class is mediocre - to be kind - unless the linebackers rock. Shane Jones was taken away from the other Big Ten big boys, while Jon Reschke will eventually be the team's leading tackler after he spends a few years beefing up in the weight room.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
29. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. The Spartans have mostly gone after defensive prospects over the last few years, and it shows with few defensive linemen coming in this season. There’s a little something for all the skill spots with the emphasis on receiver, and head coach Mark Dantonio is bringing in some strong tight ends to play around with the offense. There aren’t any superstar prospects compared to what Michigan is getting, but it’ll be a good class full of variety.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 32. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive end. The Spartans didn’t exactly capitalize on its breakthrough co-Big Ten championship season – the overall class is mediocre - but they loaded up on the the defensive line with some nice-looking tackles and three phenomenal end prospects. Lawrence Thomas is a potential pass rushing terror on the outside and is the crown jewel of this class, while Joel Heath is a big, talented option. The young running backs corps got even stronger with Onaje Miller, a speedster who could add another element to the offense this year.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 29. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Diversity. The
Spartans got a little of everything with a
strength-in -numbers class. The best prospects are
OT Skyler Schofner, a big athlete who'll get a
chance to be the anchor up front soon, and DE
William Gholson, a big, fast, dream of a 3-4 end
when he grows into his 6-6 frame. Max Bullough will
get a yet to work behind Greg Jones, and next year
he could be the starting middle linebacker. Corner
Mylan Hicks is a lockdown coverman with the
athleticism and potential to erase just about any
Big Ten team's No. 1
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 35. That Class Was
Heavy On ... linebackers and running backs. MSU’s early success under Mark Dantonio has come from a strong running game and athletic linebackers, and this class reflects that. Edwin Baker and Larry Caper are in to help try to replace Javon Ringer in the backfield, while Chris Norman and Tyquan Hammock are linebackers who can move. Norman, especially, was a coup for the program with the athleticism and toughness to be a star early on.