The big story - for those of you doubting the reality, Connor Cook will (hopefully) be the bright, new kickstart to the Spartan offense - following his leadership in the stunning, 17-16 victory by MSU over TCU in the B-Dubs bowl tonight. The point about all of this isn't what the coaches or players did wrong (plenty on offense), but who was the one guy who did anything right: Cook did plenty right, he made plays that Andrew Maxwell didn't make all season.
However, the real story today was the Spartan defense CRUSHING TCU in the second half, holding the Frogs to just 69 total yards for the final 30 minutes; MSU dominated defensively today when it really mattered, and turned up the heat with QB sacks and pressure late in the game. Michigan State allowed just 288 total yards, and Will Ghoston had constant pressure for the Spartans. ES also loved the play of Denicos Allen, Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard, and Marcus Rush - these guys played just fantastic all game long, flying all around the field.
Cook was far from brilliant, but he was very.. well... Gator Tim Tebow-like (THE ES HATES TEBOW) in his ability to GET THNGS DONE. Period. End of story, the way the team reacted, responded, and executed to Cook was far and away more productive than from Maxwell. OMG, a guy (Maxwell) all year long starting for your team, and finishing 6-of-16 for 28 yards in a bowl game? The only bowl I know for that performance is the Toilet Bowl that I threw up in.
LeVeon Bell was fantastic, as usual, the only consistent bright spot all game long, running for 145 yards... and getting stronger as the game wore on. The ES was on OC Dan Roushar's case for a good part of the game, but it was a brilliant call at the right time for Bell to throw a pass from the wildcat -- it was the key play in the game, the longest pass play (29 yards) for the Spartans at the end of the third quarter, that set up the TD from Cook to Burbridge.
There may be some dispute over whether or not to try for a score with the team at midfield near the end of the first half. But, it was a good call, and no surprise, that coach D called a run to end the first half instead of passing to try to get a field goal... Maxwell nearly had two interceptions on brutal throws, and State just couldn't afford him to make another bonehead throw that may lead to a TCU score.
The offensive line was terrible in the first half, but did seem to play better in the second half, particularly responding with better protection and run blocking with Cook under center. Both QBs were inefficient, but Cook certainly looked the part of a leader, and Cook got things done in the end - leading the final drive with a couple of key throws to get into FG range for Conroy's 47-yard game winner. He has GOT to be the starting QB heading into the spring. The ES is giddy in our 17-16 victory over TCU. It is a TEAM effort. But, the ES leaves you with some telling stats. G'night!
Look at how dreadful the passing statistics were tonight: