Saturday, October 3, 2009

Victory for MSU!!!

So despite TRYING their best to give the game away, the Spartans came out of the day with their first back to back wins over the Michigan Wolverines in 42 years.

The Spartans led 20-6 with 14:30 left in the game, when Michigan went a bit crazy on offense. A 60 yard touchdown pass by Michigan freshman QB Tate Forcier cut the lead to 20-13 with less than 5 minutes to go. Michigan State then had a sputtering offensive and gave Michigan the ball back with about 4 minutes to go.

Forcier led Michigan down and threw a TD on 3rd down with 2 seconds left to tie the game. This final drive was aided by a few Spartan penalties, including one roughing the passer flat that was best.

So we go to overtime and the Spartans win the toss. They elect to play defense, like any normal team would. Michigan got a first down in the OT, then on 3rd down and five well within field goal range, Forcier threw a pass that was tipped and ended up in the hands of Chris Rucker. Michigan State had picked off Forcier in the endzone in OT.

The Spartans went on offense, and on a 3rd down and 9 from the 24 yard line, freshman Larry Caper broke a tackle and scampered into the endzone, sealing the Spartans victory.

This victory made a few things clear with this football season.

First off, the Spartans still need some help learning how to seal a victory. They led by 14 points with less than 5 minutes to play, and somehow still managed to go to overtime. If the Spartans could figure out how to close games out, they very likely would be 4-1 right now instead of 2-3. The last second loss to Central Michigan came because of an offsides play. The Spartans were offsides on a missed field goal, giving CMU another shot at the kick from 5 yards closer which they connected on for the win. The last minute drive that the Spartans were putting together against Notre Dame was going perfectly...before an ill timed interception thrown on a first down play while they were clearly in field goal range. Those two single plays are the difference between 4-1 and 2-3 right now. Had the Spartans learned how to close games out, then todays game probably would've never gone to overtime.

Secondly, the Spartans secondary isn't quite as horrible as everyone thinks. They played well against a Michigan offense that is supposed to be pretty high powered. Couple that with the fact that they held the Wolverines to 28 yards rushing today, and you get that maybe they played poorly in two games where they were on the field way too much, against Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

Thirdly, the Spartans NEED to choose a QB. They don't seem to be playing the switch very well. That, and it doesn't make sense to switch the quarterback out when the team is driving and seems to be getting into a bit of a rythm.

Now, on the other side of the ball, some things that we might have learned about the Wolverines...

First off, they aren't "back" like everyone wants to think. They are still a very poor football team, who has close victories over several other "poor" football teams. The Wolverines have a 38-34 comeback win over Notre Dame, a team that by any real standards is far from good. They also have a 36-33 win over Indiana, a team that was 1-7 in Big 10 play last season...and keep in mind, this win was preserved by a seriously blown call by the officials where the Hoosiers receiver and the Wolverine defender both caught the ball at the same time, yet instead of it being ruled a complete pass (which is the way the rule is supposed to go) it was deemed an interception, and Michigan held on for the win. This Michigan football team is 4-1 with zero quality wins, and two wins that easily could be losses, which would put them at 2-3 with wins over lower tier teams Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.

Second, despite the Big 10s best efforts to help them out with officiating, the team still needs more help. In consecutive games now (against Indiana and today against Michigan State) I have watched the Wolverines benefit from no less than 5 ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE calls. I know the Big 10 desperately wants to be considered one of the better conferences out there again, but by trying to help a bad Wolverine team out, they aren't going to prove anything.

Third, Michigan didn't look very good outside of The Big House. They have played their first four games of the season at home, and in their first road trip of the season they looked seriously flustered at times. It'll be interesting to see how they handle road situations agains teams that are actually good.

Well, that's enough for's time to just be happy for the Spartans victory!!!

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