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.