Monday, November 30, 2009

Games 1 & 2 Recap

   The 2011 season has not started off how Sparty would have liked. No one had them beating #1 ND in South Bend, but the loss in the home opener to BYU was relatively shocking. Lets take a game by game look:

      MSU's offense looked like it could score on anyone, Nichol threw the ball all over the place to the tune of 5 Tds, but he also produced a couple of key turnovers that both lead to BYU scores. WR BJ Cunningham showed why he is considered to be one of the top playmakers in the Big Ten this year with 189 yards receiving and 3 Tds. The RB tandem of Edwin Baker and Ashton Leggett was effective when used, but the Spartans went away from the running game after getting down by a couple of scores late in the 3rd.


        The blame for this loss can be put on the shoulders of the defense. BYU QB Nelson had no problem completing pass after pass against the High School level secondary of the Spartans. BYU's HB also ran wild, easily getting passed the MSU front four and running through the secondary like a hot knife through butter. The lone bright spot on defense was the play of true freshman MLB Tony Hodge.

The ND Game:


    The Spartans traveled to South Bend with their tails between their legs after getting stunned at home by BYU, but they didn't play like it, at least to begin with. MSU's maligned defense stopped the Irish on their first possession, much to the surprise of both coaches. Some credit should go to backup FS Trenton Robinson who started at CB this week as he did all season last year and stepped up to make a number of big tackles. On MSU's first offensive play, Nichol hit BJ Cunningham for a 35 yard gain off play action. The drive stalled there and gave the Spartans a 3 point lead. ND Scored a TD off a short pass and a few broken tackles to go up 7-3 at the end of the 1st quarter, and they never looked back. Nichol was harassed all day, tossing three INTs to the Irish, one returned for a touchdown. RB Edwin Baker had another solid outing with 93 yards on 10 carries. If the Spartan defense can get off the field Baker may be the Spartans best weapon. Despite the loss, the defense showed some improvement and has Spartan fans reasonably excited for Big Ten season.