QB/RB battle results, MSU #18 says NBC, ESPN gives cautious praise The Enlightened Spartan: QB/RB battle results, MSU #18 says NBC, ESPN gives cautious praise

Friday, August 21, 2009

QB/RB battle results, MSU #18 says NBC, ESPN gives cautious praise

Let's reflect on this past week's preparations by your Spartan gridders, with just 15 days left until we take on the Montana State Bobcats.

Obviously, the two main spots gaining all the attention are in the Spartan backfield - and a Monday scrimmage gives a better line on who may get the nod to start the season. It looks that Keith Nichol took the early lead in the QB race. Nichol completed 17-of-26 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns,; his counterpart, Kirk Cousins, hit 13-of-30 throws for 127 yards, two TDs and one interception. Stats may not be anything, but there's a wide disparity between the two here. At RB, sophomore Ashton Leggett led all rushers with 91 yards on 10 carries, including a 63-yard TD run (sans the long run, Leggett was 9-28, or 3.1 average). AJ Jimmerson had 38 yards on 10 carries, and Caulton Ray had 15 carries for 29 yards. Freshman TE stud Dion Sims had seven catches for 60 yards, and wideout Keshawn Martin caught five passes for 85 yards and a TD. Chris Rucker (who dropped about everything thrown his way last year) had four catches for 90 yards. On defense, linebacker Adam Decker was a standout with eight tackles. Along the line, Tyler Hoover had six tackles (two for losses) and recovered a fumble.

Over at MSUspartans.com, they posted an update late Thursday in advance of a Friday scrimmage, with comments from Cousins, Nichol, Joel Nitchman, and DL Coach Ted Gill.


The Associated Press will release its preseason poll tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 22. Over at NBC Sports, they list Michigan State #18 ("Dantonio’s program has an opportunity to take the next step — maybe even a giant step"), thusly, lowering expectations of the annual Spartan dispatching of their beloved #22 Irish on national TV. LSUfootball.net has published its final preseason compilation of preseason rankings, and lists MSU at #32.

Over at ESPN, they've got a preseason prognostication of Michigan State's postseason plans, with Bruce Feldman pitting MSU vs Kansas State in the Insight Bowl, and Mark Schlabach listing MSU vs Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl... Adam Rittenberg slots MSU in the Outback Bowl. All three would be a step DOWN for the Spartans this year. Rittenberg is the most prolific blogger on the Big Ten over at ESPN, and he also lists MSU at #4 in his conference power rankings: "The more I look at the Spartans' depth chart, the more I like their chances this fall... if Michigan State solidifies its offensive backfield, look out." And, can you say "team"? Michigan State is picked by most to finish either #3 or #4 in the conference, including by Rittenberg, yet the Spartans have only two players on the Big Ten's First Team All Conference, which ranks them tied with scUM for next-to-last.

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