After allowing myself to stew about Michigan State’s loss last night to Nebraska, I have come to the realization that the Spartans have been playing with disaster all season. I compare it with Russian Roulette. If you play long enough, sooner or later the bullet in the chamber is going to get you. There have been too many games this year where the team has just scraped by and the reason is they are not solid in all aspects of the game.
Offensively, they have made plays because they have an experienced QB and receivers who can make the big plays. Conner Cook is having an outstanding senior year as well as Aaron Burbridge who is the top receiver in the league. MacGarrett Kings and R.J. Shelton have also made big plays this year, along with the TE Josiah Price. The running back-by-committee has done well also rotating four guys (Scott, London, Holmes and Williams). Considering all the injuries on the offensive line, they have performed adequately for the offense to be productive.
Defense has been the major disappointment this year. It was apparent that coming into the season, the secondary would be a question mark. Well it’s no longer a question mark, it’s a fact that it is a disaster. Losing Copeland ,who is my opinion was their best cornerback, was a big loss. I thought he was in the mold of former CB’s (Dennard and Waynes). In addition, losing Hicks for some games hurt as well. These two are their best CBs. The Spartans were forced to take the redshirt off some freshmen (Miller, Willis and Smith) to help out. Montae Nicholson, who was projected to have a breakout season has regressed and is no longer starting. R.J. Williamson was injured and out for pretty much the season. These circumstances make the back end of the defense a disaster. To many big plays are given up. The front seven on defense has been good at times, but not as consistent as in previous seasons. Calhoun and McDowell have been very good and Thomas and Heath have been steady up front. The linebacking crew has been excellent, considering the loss of Ed Davis for the season. Reschke and Frey have filled in great for Davis, Bullough has been steady in the middle and Harris has been great. In fact, last nights’ game might have been Harris’ best game this year.
The special team play has been inconsistent along with the defense. Too many big punt and kickoff returns have been permitted and the field goal kicking has been erratic to say the least. These factors associated with this years’ Spartan team has made the season a nail biter every game. There have been no blow-outs or easy games this year. The teams that they should have beaten easily were close games and were not decided until late in the game. As was mentioned earlier, the Spartans have been playing Russian Roulette all season.
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The #Detroit Lions are so far gone as a football team, it’s pathetic. They have a bye this week and have been pretty much out of the lime life this week after the firings of Martin Mayhew and Tom Leland earlier this week. At mid season, it’s clear that the only thing concerning Lion fans is how far down they will go this season and who will be chosen to run the organization for the upcoming NFL Draft. Will they win another game this year? Who knows; Looking at the remainder of their schedule, they still have three division games (two with Green Bay and at Chicago), home games with Oakland, Philadelphia and San Fransisco and road games with New Orleans and St.Louis. I don’t know how many victories anyone can see out of this; I don’t see any wins out of this. So, the LIONS ARE ON THE CLOCK!!
The officials blew the call on the winning touchdown for Nebraska, but I put the blame for this loss on the Spartans. Nebraska should not have been in that position in the first place. The Spartans had the chance to run out the clock on their last possession, but the play calling was atrocious. You have a fifth-year senior QB who just happened to be the best player on the field, why not let him win or lose the game for you? A running play on first down for one yard, running play on second down, nothing; and on third down a reverse to the tight end? You’ve got to be kidding!!! I didn’t have a problem with the run on first down, but on second and third down, put your fate in the hands of your best player. If you’re going to go down, go down shooting your big gun!!!
What was most disturbing about this game for me was the #MSU defense. I mean they were terrible all night. They couldn’t tackle, couldn’t cover anybody and overall did not play inspired football. Where were the “#Spartan Dawgs”? If they play like this against Ohio State in Columbus, it will get ugly real fast!!! This is just not a championship caliber defense like the one we had two years ago. Nebraska amassed almost 500 total yards of offense. They couldn’t stop the run, they had no pressure on Tommy Armstrong and couldn’t cover the receivers in a phone booth. As a result of this loss, the Spartans can forget about the Big 10 championship. They may beat Maryland next week, but the game in Columbus is a loss. The season finale at home against Penn State will probably be a win since it will be “Senior Day”.