The Spartans played well defensively all day, and only allowed 80 yards rushing by the 'Cats -- 44 by their QB, Franz Kafka (ha ha). The Spartan D hurried the Wildcat spread offense all day and forced Kafka to throw on the run repeatedly; MSU ended up with three sacks but handfuls of hurries. Junior LB Greg Jones had one of his best games as a Spartan and was all over the field, constantly pressuring Kafka, stuffing the run, and making plays in the secondary. Jones finished with 14 tackles, 2 QB sacks, a pair of hurries, and a pass breakup. Statisically, he was outdone by fellow LB Eric Gordon with 15 tackes and 2 tackles for loss.
On offense, Michigan State had its most sluggish first half of the year and trailed at the half, 7-0. But the Spartans woke up in the second half and had several long drives to lead the way. Kirk Cousins returned at QB this week for MSU (after taking last week vs Illinois off to rest his ankle) and allowed Keith Nichol's bruised elbow to heal. He was rusty in the first half, but woke up and connected with Blair White on 12 passes for 189 yards and 2 TDs -- and White showed off his gluey hands by catching everything in sight. Cousins finished 21-31 for 281 yards. Also on offense, Larry Caper led the way on the ground with 63 yards on 16 carries; but, more impressively on came Edwin Baker. Baker dropped his redshirt and fumbled early, only to look like a bruising back as the game wore on. Yes, Spartan fans, Baker is the real deal, as his running was inspirational, powerful, and awesome at times. He finished with 44 on 12 carries -- but you will see his carries increase as his performance and bruising style was inspiring.
Michigan State looked good defensively, again. On offense, it started slow but came on as the game wore on. An awful fumble by NW on a kick return led to another MSU score, but MSU also left 14 other points on the field with Baker's fumble and a NW goal line stand on the first drive. The Spartans played well and dominated for the most part. Now, at 3-1 and 4-3, the Big Green has a chance to ruin Iowa's storied, undefeated season. Welcome Mr. Hawkeye.
More later.... but, great job Big GREEN!
(Below: WR Blair White catches a pass from Cousin on a right out route for a first down in the 3rd quarter).
|NET YARDS RUSHING||79||94|
|Average Per Rush||2.7||2.8|
|Yards Gained Rushing||104||128|
|Yards Lost Rushing||25||34|
|NET YARDS PASSING||291||281|
|Average Per Attempt||6.2||9.1|
|Average Per Completion||8.6||13.4|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||370||375|
|Total offense plays||76||65|
|Average Gain Per Play||4.9||5.8|
|Average Yards Per Punt||32.5||40.5|
|Net Yards Per Punt||27.8||35.5|
|Average Yards Per Kickoff||67.3||61.0|
|Net Yards Per Kickoff||38.7||44.0|
|Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD||2-10-0||1-8-0|
|Average Per Return||5.0||8.0|
|Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD||5-85-0||2-66-0|
|Average Per Return||17.0||33.0|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD||0-0-0||0-0-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||8 of 16||5 of 14|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 2||0 of 1|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||0-0||3-15|