Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thoughts on MSU's win at Iowa

MSU goes into Iowa City and wins, 37-21. MSU built a 31-7 halftime lead and although it appeared Iowa was ready to make a comeback, they never cut the deficit smaller than 13. Spartans still control their own destiny and if they beat Indiana at home next week and win at Northwestern the following week, they'll book a trip to Indianapolis as winners of the Legends division. It was MSU's first win at Iowa since 1989, when I was less than two months old.

--No more talk about not winning big road games. MSU now has won at every Big Ten stadium other than Wisconsin and Nebraska (EDIT: or Minnesota) in Dantonio's time. The Hawkeyes were 6-0 at home and James Vandenberg was undefeated as a starter at Kinnick. This game meant everything in terms of the Legends division. At Penn State last year and Ohio State and Iowa this year, MSU can win big road games. No they're not ranked teams, but they're good teams and they're important games. Look at anyone's record on the road against ranked teams and it's not good this side of Bama.

--Good for Kirk Cousins. Playing in front of his Iowan grandparents, Cousins got redemption after last season, and was awarded the game ball. He finished 18-for-31 for 260 yards and 3 TDs.and make several big-time throws. He also threw the ball away and didn't force anything, something he's had problems with. The winningest quarterback in school history now is part of the winningest class in school history, moving ahead of last year's senior class.

--Running game comes up big. Both Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker ran hard and with a purpose and it showed. Bell finished with 112 yards on 20 carries and Baker had 51 yards on 13 carries. But it all starts up front, and MSU's offensive line performed well. I'm sure many people thought they should have run a little bit more, especially holding on at the end.

--Defense holds on. Twenty-one points seems like a lot against this defense, but guys were banged up all over the place. Darqueze Dennard left the game with a leg injury and didn't return. William Gholston, Jerel Worthy and Johnathan Strayhorn all left and came back multiple times on the defensive line. Trenton Robinson went out with an injury, and Kurtis Drummond was hurt on the very next play. It was worse than the Nebraska game, but I'm sure the win makes it feel better.

--Playcalling was better than people will say. Since so much attention is being put on Roushar's playcalling, any bad call will be exaggerated and good calls will be ignored. I thought MSU's plan was solid and executed well. I thought MSU passed a little too much at the end, but you can't say they were predictable like Don Treadwell was. Playcalling also looks better when the offensive line blocks.

--Moving forward. As was said before, MSU is in the driver's seat for the Big Ten championship game, barring a derp of a performance. MSU showed good balance on offense and if they can continue to run the ball like that in the final two games, winning shouldn't be difficult. If MSU wins next week and Michigan beats Nebraska, MSU wins the division. So there's that.

1 comment:

  1. "...barring a derp of a performance." I love it!