Sunday, October 26, 2014

The greatest drive in Michigan State football history

Connor Cook had just pissed away a beautiful 28-3 lead over scUM by dropping the ball instead of handing it to Jeremy Langford.  Thirty seconds later, Michigan scored its first, and only, touchdown vs MSU since 2011.

And, then came the greatest drive in Spartan football history.  I still have tears in my eyes. 

With the Michigan State Spartans at midfield, and up 28-11 with 3 minutes left... well, the Doctor's M.O. is to just kneel down in victory formation and play another day. Right?  Game over?  But not Saturday, not against the little shits from Michigan.  As Coach D nearly stated after the game, time to "Shove it up their ASS!" (he said "We wanted to shove it," but we all know what he meant).  

More diplomatically: we are going to run the ball, and if you don't like it, stop us.  Victory Formation be damned.  The Spartan Stadium crowd, still nearly 70,000 strong, roared in approval.  I mean, IT ROARED.   

AND, the last drive of the game went like this:
H 1-10 M48  33-Langford rush for no gain to the MICH48
H 2-10 M48  33-Langford rush for 8 yards to the MICH40
H 3-2  M40  33-Langford rush for 3 yards to the MICH37
H 1-10 M37  33-Langford rush for 27 yards to the MICH10
H 1-G  M10  33-Langford rush for 2 yards to the MICH8
H 2-G  M08  33-Langford rush for 3 yards to the MICH5
H 3-G  M05  33-Langford rush for 5 yards to the MICH0
TOUCHDOWN, clock 00:28. 4-Geiger, Michael kick attempt good.

After the game, coach D said: "I can only be diplomatic for so long..." in the best, most appropriate, rant from Dantonio of his career.



Let me help you out coach: SHOVE IT DOWN THEIR THROAT.   Too bad Mike Hart wasn't playing on Saturday, because he likely would have left the game broken inside and out, broken like the dribble of a football program he left behind thanks to his "Little Brother" disrespect back in 2006.  

If Michigan State makes it to the national playoff, this likely will be the drive to which the Spartan Nation will point as far as being definitive in our persona.  The bastards from Ann Arbor have shown little respect, far beyond stupidity, for Michigan State football.  In all honesty, this goes way back to MSU's entry to the Big Ten, in 1949 when Michigan was the only school to vote against MSU joining the conference. Yes, Mike Hart was one of the best things to ever happen to Michigan State football. Yes, pride does come before the fall.  Fast forward to today: As smart as they think they are, the Wolverines lack common sense. 

I hate Michigan athletics.  And, I LOVED that last drive.  Brady Hoke, for all the Spartan Nation loves his terrible coaching, has now lost my complete respect - apologizing for his team's lack of integrity is worse than allowing them to behave so poorly in the first place.  It's just pathetic.

Never thought BTN's Gerry DiNardo would have such prophetic words: "Michigan is a drama program."  How sad, how true.

Below you will find the beautiful statistics from the game.  No matter how eye-opening, what you see below still doesn't paint the picture of how bad we kicked Michigan's ass.  Can we play them again tomorrow?  Please?

                                   MICH      MSU
FIRST DOWNS...................       13       22
NET YARDS RUSHING.............       61      219
  Average Per Rush............      2.3      4.8
NET YARDS PASSING.............      125      227
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  15-31-2  12-22-0
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      186      446
  Average Gain Per Play.......      3.3      6.6
Possession Time...............    26:14    33:46

Friday, October 24, 2014

ES Game Day: MSU vs UM? It's like beating a dead horse with candy

Poor horsey looks like a prophecy of Devin Gardner or Shane Morris vs MSU

#5/#8 Michigan State Spartans vs. #70 Michigan Wolverines
October 25, 2014.  3:30 pm ET.
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
ABC-TV

Weather:  64 and sunny

Sagarin Ratings: MSU #11, scUM #70
Line: MSU favored by 17

Predictions & Previews:  

  • TobBet.eu: Writer's Prediction:  "The Spartans Crush the Wolverines."
  • Live2Sport:  MSU, 33-15
  • CFN/Scout.com:  MSU, 31-13
  • iSportsweb: White, MSU 38-13; Catania, Michigan 17-14; Johnson, MSU 32-16; Nazario, MSU 31-14; Lapthorne, MSU 28-24; Hoeppner, MSU 35-10; Squanda, MSU 38-17; Harns, MSU 44-14; Sargent, MSU 28-7; Draper, MSU 31-20; Lyons, MSU 42-14; worldofisaac, MSU 38-17; Coster, MSU 42-17; Moore, MSU 52-9 
  • Freep:  Rexrode, MSU 27-17; Snyder, MSU 35-14; Albom, MSU 45-10; Sharp, MSU 31-10; Seidel, MSU 35-14; Windsor, MSU 29-16
  • DetNews.com (vs spread): Charboneau, Changelis, Wojnowski, MSU; Niyo, Michigan
  • BTN.com: Lesmerises, MSU 40-13; Yarina, MSU 44-13; Dienhart, MSU 44-9
  • ESPN.com:  MSU 24-13
  • CBSSports.com:  unanimous, MSU
ES sez:

Hell, if MITCH ALBOM is predicting a 5-touchdown win by the Spartans, then the nation must know the vast canyon of superiority that Michigan State has over that has-been program from Ann Arbor.  How embarrassing. Read my previous write-ups:  the Wolverines have NO CHANCE in this game.  The uglies from AA are completely outmatched physically and statistically.   The ES is glad they had two weeks to prepare, it won't matter.  

Shalique Calhoun is and will be a nightmare for Devin Gardner and Michigan.

This rivalry game is #1 most important on the Spartans' list of most hated teams, and we Big Green Machine will come to play on a beautiful October afternoon, with the prerequisite Dantonio trick plays up his sleeve.  The defense will be on fire, and ready to respond to the national pundits who are questioning that we may give up big-plays despite our No-Fly Zone.   We - the Ferocious Spartan Defense - will force that Michigan team into turnovers into which our ground running game will churn into long-drive, dominating TDs - thank you, Mr. Langford.  

ES Bottom line:  this game will be won in the trenches by the Spartans, big time, on both sides of the ball.  And, it will get ugly over time.   Thank God this beating will be on ABC.  The ES invites the world to watch this capital punishment with popcorn, candy, and a few frosty lagers.  

MSU 46, Michigan 9.  


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Little Blue UM no match for 17-pt fave Big Green MSU

It is RIVALRY WEEK and as such it's amazing to see Michigan State favored by 17 points against the Ann Arborites.  It's the largest spread for MSU over scUM in my lifetime - and the reason is that Big Green is a Top-10 team, defending Rose Bowl Champions, and the Wolverines are not even in the same league.

The ES actually feels bad for Little Blue.  David Brandon, the scUM AD, is as clueless in marketing college athletics as he was successful as the CEO of Domino's Pizza,  backup QB Shane Morris is caught in a concussion controversy, coach Brady Hoke should be making decisions for Pillsbury crescent rolls instead of a football team, and injuries, injuries: leading rusher Derrick Green is out for the season; DL Jabrill Peppers is questionable; and, OL Sean Magnuson is also questionable... etc, etc.

Remember last year, QB Devin Gardner was planted like a petunia in Spartan Stadium in a 29-6 loss, being sacked eight times en route to -46 yards rushing. Gardner puked on his final play as he headed out of the game, smashed like your grandma's potatoes.

With scUM missing a starting OL and their leading RB gone for the season, and an anemic Michigan offense going against a fairly good Spartan defense... and, to boot, when MSU gets the ball, it is among the nation's leading scorers, giving up the fewest sacks, creating the most turnovers, and also leading the nation in Time of Possession....  Well, on paper this is a complete blow out.  MSU should be able to score at will, on long drives, and pound Michigan into a deep-six holiday that lasts until next season or longer.  Michigan can't move the ball and can't score.  Done deal.  Gardner won't survive.

Here are the basic stats:

Michigan Offense: #110 total yards, #82 sacks allowed, #44 TOP, #105 scoring
Michigan Turnover Margin: #124
Michigan Defense: #10 total yards, #41 team sacks, #29 scoring

MSU Offense:  #12 total yards, #1 in sacks allowed, #1 TOP, #3 scoring
MSU Turnover Margin:  #3
MSU Defense: #9 total yards,  #4 team sacks, #33 scoring

More later... but reads like Sayonara to me.

POLLS - PLAYOFF DUE OUT TUES OCT. 28

Michigan State is shooting up the coaches poll to #5, but is static in the AP media poll at #8.  Doesn't matter much, as the College Football Playoff poll will have its first stanza this upcoming Tuesday at 7:30 pm on ESPN - look for MSU to go up a notch or two with a pounding of hated Michigan.

USA Today Poll
RKTEAMRECORDPTS
1Mississippi State (36)6-01520
2Florida State (22)7-01493
3Ole Miss (4)7-01447
4Alabama6-11293
5Michigan State6-11243
6Auburn5-11210
7Oregon6-11133
8Notre Dame6-11117
9Georgia6-11096
10TCU5-1996
11Kansas State5-1909
12Ohio State5-1856
13Baylor6-1853
14Arizona State5-1654
15Arizona5-1612
16Nebraska6-1588
17East Carolina5-1578
18Oklahoma5-2482
19Utah5-1371
20Clemson5-2320
21USC5-2258
22Marshall7-0247
23LSU6-2155
24Minnesota6-1147
25West Virginia5-2143

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Michigan State favored by 2 TDs at Indiana

The #6 MSU Spartans are 14-1/2 point favorites this week at Indiana.  Here's a quick looksie at what the bookies in Vegas think about the Big Ten slate:

#6 MSU (-14 1/2) at Indiana
Minnesota (-13) vs Purdue
Maryland (-3) vs Iowa
#13 Ohio State (-20) vs Rutgers
#19 Nebraska (-7) at Northwestern

Bye week: Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State


Analyzing 4th quarter woes: MSU is moving on UP!

After the 45-31 win at Purdue, the Big Green is moving on up, this time to #6 in the coaches poll, but remain at #8 in the media poll (see below). This is fine, whisper words of wisdom, Let it Be.   The Big Green will keep winning (a 2-TD favorite at Indy) and make adjustments to the point that it excels like a well-oiled machine by the time we meet the stumbling Wolverines.  Hopefully.

This team is interesting.  It has so much firepower:  the second quarter explosion at Oregon, the three-quarter domination vs. Nebraska, the third-quarter surge at Purdue.  Michigan State currently ranks fourth nationally in scoring at 45.5 points per game.

The problem is the 4th quarter.  Against decent competition this fall, Michigan State has faltered after its scoring explosion, being outscored 47-7 against these same teams in the final stanza.  This differs greatly from last year's squad, which outscored teams 112-30 in the fourth quarter over the season.

Yes, the Spartans have given up more points in the 4th quarter during six games this year than in all of 14 games last year.  Ahem, that's a problem.

On the other hand, this season's Michigan State team has already scored 245 points through the first three quarters in just six games, which is on pace to nearly double last year's team which scored 299 points through the first three quarters during the 14-game season.  And, the 80 points against the Big Green D over the first three quarters so far this season is only about half of the 155 given up in all of last year.

Here is the comparison, MSU scoring 2013 vs 2014

GP (Games Played),  Q (Quarter)

GP Q 1-3 Q 4
Offense:
2014 6 245 28
2013 14 299 112

Defense:
2014 6 80 54
2013 14 155 30

The stats don't lie.  The MSU scoring offense is far more explosive and efficient than last year's squad.  And the defense is not as stingy.  But, can these forces equate to more wins in 2014?  It seems to be a dicey game - and one that has proved victorious in competition against teams from non-interesting locations (West Lafayette, Laramie, Lincoln); but there is work to do to shore up the game when playing Ohio State, and/or the potential B1G title game.

What is also impressive is that this Michigan State team is dictating the game more often than not, leading the nation in Time of Possession, with 35:52 per game.  That is very impressive of a team that is also #17 in Total Offense at 502.3 yards per game... but, moreover:  #2 in the country in Turnover Margin, at 1.83 per game; #5 in Rushing Defense at 81.5 yards per game; and #12 overall in defense at 304.2 yards per game.

In other words, statistically this team is very very stout.  The problem is this 4th quarter hiccup in the three games... otherwise, MSU would likely lead in every single statistical category in the nation.

Shoring up the defense in the 4th quarter, completing passes on third downs in the 4th quarter, and not trying a fake-punt in our own territory in the 4th quarter would go a long way toward a greater statistical advantage... and less nausea.  Furthermore, MSU showed poor form with the young LB Riley Bullough (#30) out of position on a 52-yard TD run by the Boiler's Akeem Hunt; as well as  the once-again-close-but-no-cigar, 4th-quarter phantom-INT by Kurtis Drummond that led to a 12-yd first down completion on a TD drive by Purdue.

But, it is a game of inches.  And, vs both Nebraska and Purdue, the defense picked off passes late in the game that were definitive in the Spartan victories.

This week, our Michigan State team has another good test to get its act in order vs a high-flying Indiana team.  Let's see if they can settle down, again score early but for once put the game away early in the 4th quarter and keep the Hoosiers at bay.  Here's the USA Today poll for you to enjoy...

USA Today Poll
RKTEAMRECORDPTS
1Mississippi State (26)6-01490
2Florida State (31)6-01489
3Ole Miss (5)6-01436
4Baylor6-01392
5Notre Dame6-01292
6Michigan State5-11129
7Alabama5-11121
8Auburn5-11111
9Oregon5-11017
10Georgia5-11013
11Oklahoma5-11005
12TCU4-1824
13Ohio State4-1737
14Kansas State4-1710
15Oklahoma State5-1610
16East Carolina5-1518
17Arizona5-1502
18Arizona State4-1471
19Nebraska5-1433
20Stanford4-2344
21Texas A&M5-2269
22Clemson4-2244
23Utah4-1161
24Marshall6-0153
25USC4-2125


Friday, October 10, 2014

ES Game Day: Purdon't Won't


#8 Michigan State Spartans at # 97 Purdue Boilermakes
October 11, 2014.  3:30 pm ET.
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
ABC-TV

Weather: 59 and sunny.

Sagarin Ratings:  MSU #14, Purdue #97
Line: MSU favored by 21

Predictions & Previews:

ES sez:  Well, ahem, later next week,  the ES will discuss the insanity of Mark Hollis' considering penalizing the student body by reducing their ticket allotment (isn't it COLLEGE???? yeah, let's cut out the college out of college sports).  The fact that ESPN's Brian Bennett seemingly agrees with this viewpoint once again underscores the fact that students don't matter when the media is paying the bills.  Read this: 
  • "If students don't want to go or stay through the game -- particularly in the upper-deck areas -- then I have no problem with the schools cutting those sections back. Students aren't obligated to attend or stay through home football games. Likewise, tuition does not guarantee good seats to those games."
This is about the dumbest argument ever made, from both a commercial and an amateur point of view.  Reducing access to students who will be your future ticket sales?  Biting the hand that feeds?  Actually, tuition SHOULD guarantee good seats.  The argument here is so backwards from both a branding and commercial standpoint, it defies logic.  Absolutely Stupid.  Anyhow... 

But, as far as this weekend's game:   Oh My.  Poor Purdon't.  They will be taking on the Spartans after the wrong end of a quarter of football in which the Spartans fell asleep... After dismantling Nebraska for 85% of the game, MSU nodded off and nearly paid the price.  Not this week.

The problem for Purdue is - they really don't.  They are arguably the WORST team in the B1G Ten this year.  The Big Green is arguably the best team... and the defending champions need to make a stride after last week's scare.  

Let's look at the basic stats:
  • Purdue Total Offense #102, 351.8 ypg vs MSU Total Defense #11, 297 ypg
  • Purdue Rushing Offense #67, 170 ypg vs MSU Rushing Defense: MSU #4, 72 ypg
  • Purdue Passing Offense #104, 181.8 ypg vs MSU Passing Defense #48, 225 ypg
  • MSU Total Offense #24, 497.4 ypg vs Purdue Total Defense #76, 408.6
  • MSU Passing Offense: #51, 257.2 ypg vs Purdue Passing Defense #105, 273.5 ypg
  • MSU Rushing Offense #22, 239.2 ypg vs Purdue Rushing Defense #48, 135.2 ypg
In every category, offense vs defense, Michigan State overwhelmingly ranks as superior.  And, MSU has had the tougher schedule, playing at Oregon and vs Nebraska.   Not much more needs to be said.  The ES sees an absolute demolition tomorrow in West Lafayette:  the Hammer will fall off the Rails.  

MSU 55, Purdon't 13.