Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Random Sports Thoughts: MSU Football Edition

The Michigan State Spartans opened up their 2012-13 campaign with two wins. The first was a tough, ugly 17-13 win over Boise State. The followed that with a rare road trip to Mount Pleasant, and beat Central Michigan 41-7. Here are a few thoughts from those games, as well as things on my mind for Sparty going forward. 

Maxwell's House- After the Spartans win against Boise State, my Facebook timeline was full comments about Andrew Maxwell. Spartan fans were nervous and wishing for a Kirk Cousins sighting. Wolverine fans were calling him a worse passer than Denard Robinson(pure comedy). The knee jerk reaction was amazing and mostly off-base. While his week one performance was less than impressive, some perspective is needed. The Spartans defense, and running game will be enough to win most games. They simply need Maxwell to make plays necessary to keep teams honest, and not make any costly mistakes. He does not have to be a superstar for the Spartans to win. There will come a time that he has to win a game, and I believe he is capable of that. For now though, please relax, and let's see how Maxwell matures. The book here says the kid will be alright. 

Just Nasty: Michigan State's defense is nastier than Cullen Bohannon and Elam Ferguson defending Durant, Nebraska(word to AMC's "Hell On Wheels"). Through two games they have allowed a total of six points, and no touchdowns. Running the ball against them has been pretty much futile, and they get pressure on the quarterback at an aggressive rate. The knock on them has always been the secondary, but they are improved as well. There are not any holes in what is the best defense not named Alabama, or LSU in the country. With the horrible offense being played by most B1G teams, this defense should dominate for the entire season. 

Bellwether- One definition for bellwether is a person or thing that assumes leadership or forefront. That is a great way to describe Le'Veon Bell's new role as the featured back for the Spartans. He shown glimpses of a being special back since his Freshman year. So far this season, he has shown how special he can be. He literally carried  MSU in the win over Boise State. With 210 yards on 44 carries, and 6 catches for 55 yards, he outgained Boise by himself. It was an epic performance, yet alarming. Backups Larry Caper, and Nick Hill must step up. The B1G is going to be a long grind, and while the Spartans have found their "Bellwether", they can not overuse him. 

Room For Improvement: The Spartans face a test this weekend with Notre Dame coming in. The Spartans will need a solid effort from their receiving corps and back-up running backs in this one. Against Boise State, the receivers had drops that led to interceptions. This can not happen in the game this weekend against Notre Dame and going forward in the B1G season. They need to contribute to the offense, in order to keep other teams from loading up against Le'Veon Bell. 

Backup running backs Larry Caper and Nick Hill must show they can be productive when they get on the field. They are not being asked to be world beaters, but take at least fifteen carries, and make something positive happen. Fifty touches in one game is entirely too much, and if the Spartans need that from Le'Veon Bell to win, this season may end in another trip to a bowl not named Rose. 

Pasadena or Bust: Prior to the season, I expressed to a few people that I expected the Spartans to be in the Rose Bowl this year. With the defense and running game as good as it is, and steady development from Maxwell, this was not too lofty of an expectation. After three weeks of seeing other B1G teams, anything less will be a true disappointment. The Spartans are far from a perfect team, but they along with Ohio State are the class of the B1G this year. That will be a great game when they come to East Lansing on September 29. Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan will provide tough tests, but the Spartans should be able to get past them all. So, I stand even firmer in my preseason thoughts. This year is Rose Bowl or bust for the Spartans. 

There you have a few of my thoughts after two Michigan State football games. This has the potential to be a special season for the Spartans. I look forward to watching, and sharing my thoughts on it with you all as the season goes. Thank you, and be on the lookout for the next blog. 

I'm Jimmy L. Wilson, Jr. and I approve this message.  

Follow me on twitter @JimmyLWilsonJr

1 comment:

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