On Saturday, Michigan State defeated Eastern Michigan 23-7 in a game in which Andrew Maxwell, Le’Veon Bell and the MSU offense couldn’t string together at touchdown drive until the 4th quarter.
So, why did the Spartans beat the Eastern Michigan Eagles?
Le’Veon Bell powered through for 36 carries, 253 yards and 1 TD. Eastern Michigan has an awful rush defense, but everyone knew that the Eagles were preparing for Le’Veon Bell all week long. It didn’t even matter. From his first rush, a 4-yard gain, to his last rush, a 40-yard gain, Le’Veon Bell tore it up the entire game. Whenever the Spartans were in a tough position, they gave the ball to Bell and all of the problems disappeared.
Dion Sims was a savior. The Spartans (once again) had issues passing the ball, and Sims was Maxwell’s best friend (forever? Probably not), racking up 6 receptions for 112 yards and a TD. He was great to watch.
The Michigan State defense was once again on point, as the only touchdown they gave up was on a drive that STARTED on MSU’s 23. Isaiah Lewis had 12 tackles, Max Bullough had 9 and Denicos Allen had 6 (including a great sack) just to name a few stars on MSU’s defense on Saturday.
Hey, well what do you know? True Freshman long snapper Taybor Pepper got his first tackle against Eastern. I guess that’s a plus, right? Yeah. That’s a plus.
The Spartans 4th quarter offense looked great. They scored two touchdowns, had a great run game along with an above average passing game to go with it. Dion Sims was catching passes, Le’Veon Bell was running the ball and the line was blocking. It was spinning on all cylinders for the Spartans offense in the 4th quarter.
Once again, Andrew Maxwell looked pretty good. He made a few bad throws, but he’s human, he’ll do that. His downfall is that none of his receivers (with the exception of Dion Sims and Le’Veon Bell) can actually catch the ball. By the end of the first half, there had to be at least 3-4 dropped passes by various Spartan wideouts on the field. That cannot happen. If the Spartans (receivers, specifically) continue to not be able to catch the ball, there’ll be problems. That could possibly be the death of the Spartans.
What are some things the Spartans need to improve on before their next game (against Ohio State)?
The MSU wide receivers, plain and simple, need to learn how to catch the ball. There were a number of dropped passes AGAIN on Saturday, and once MSU starts playing in the B1G, they won’t be able to do that (and still win).
Formerly consistent kicker Dan Conroy has got to get his act together. Having a consistent kicker is a key to a lot of games, and it can be the difference between winning and losing. If the Spartans want to win close games, they’ll have to have a good kicker (NOTE: Little Giants won’t work EVERY TIME).
Darqueze Dennard had a minor injury. Not a big deal, right? Well, the thing is, Dennard has seemed to be getting hurt since the beginning of the year. He’s a great asset at cornerback across from Johnny Adams, and he really needs to stay healthy. He’s obviously not in control of it, but he’s got to keep himself healthy and continue to make plays. I don’t think we’ve seen a 100% Darqueze Dennard this whole year.
The Spartans 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter offense looked awful. 6 points. REALLY? The Spartans offense couldn’t notch an offensive touchdown in the first 3 quarters against a team in the basement of the MAC that averages 312 rush yards allowed per game? That’s very, very worrisome.
Post game Mark Dantonio seemed like he was in a bad, bad place. From the get go, Coach D looked as if he was mad, and the interview definitely showed it. Watch it here and be amazed.