Wisconsin favored by TD over Spartans; Wasting a good defense The Enlightened Spartan: Wisconsin favored by TD over Spartans; Wasting a good defense

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wisconsin favored by TD over Spartans; Wasting a good defense

The early line out of Vegas is that Wisconsin is a  6 point favorite at home over the Spartans.  Illinois is favored by 2 at home over Indiana; Purdue is favored by 3 1/2 at Minnesota; Northwestern is favored by 6 at home over Iowa; Penn State is favored by 2 at home over Ohio State; Nebraska is favored by 2 at home over Michigan.  What sucks is that with a MSU win over Michigan and with Penn State crushing Iowa, MSU really had a shot at still being in the hunt for the Big Ten title.  Now, it is just a goner... Woulda coulda shoulda....

OK, so the ES is tremendously disappointed by the outcome of the game vs Michigan.  Heck, if the third down toss by Maxwell makes another two yards, Michigan State runs out the clock.  If Marcus Rush gets to Robinson a 1/2 second earlier, Denard's pass doesn't make it.  Or, if MSU DBs covered Dileo a foot closer on the next to last play... game over.  Or, if Conroy had made his FG try earlier in the game, game over.  Or, if MSU would have gone for a TD instead of a FG deep in Michigan territory, game over... OR...

You get the point.  In all honesty, if these two teams met up 10 times, each would win five.  The teams were dead even. The Spartans are six points away from being 7-1.  Instead, this eerily is a S.O.S. drama playing out, and all of the luck from the past two years has been spent. 

The defense is as good, or better than advertised.  The Spartan defense is crushing opposing offenses... but the Spartan offense is the least productive in a generation.  It's too bad, what a waste of a good defense.

MSU played arguably its best game of the year on Saturday in the loss vs Michigan, but the offense again just can't seem to make the extra play to get into the end zone, or to continue drives.  Frustrating to watch, especially when there's a defense doing more than its fair share.

The season ain't over - MSU can still make a good run of it... the ES argues the remaining four games are against talent not as good as the Spartans.  But, the Spartans just don't have that killer instinct this year to close out games.  The last two years, it was Michigan State making plays at the end of the game to go out a winner. This year, it just isn't happening.  A win over Wisconsin would really help to cauterize the open-gash of a wound. 

Some of the fault is on Maxwell, who now is playing very similar to Kirk Cousins' play in his first year -- serviceable, getting things done at a minimum, but unable to be the playmaker to win games in the end. Maxwell had only one INT vs Michigan, but he missed many wide open receivers, and far too often settled for a safety valve (like the third down play which was short and led to giving the ball back to Michigan).  The wideouts actually played better catching the ball... but still the inability to separate consistently isn't helping out Maxwell's decision-making, either. 

But, also, give some blame to the Mark Dantonio. It is time to realize that when it is 4th-and-1 in enemy territory, the Spartans MUST go for it; they can't settle for a FG try because hit-or-miss, they need more points in the end.  In each of the three losses, MSU has settled for a FG try in short distance, and it has wound up costing them in the final minutes. The fake punt vs Michigan was a thing of beauty -- too bad we lost, 'cause that play is used for the year.  

What a bummer of a year.  And, what a waste of a perfectly fantastic defense. The ES would be happy with an 8-4 year, but that means Michigan State has to play a whole lot better on offense... and that starts with Maxwell.

Let's see if the Spartan offense can actually score 2 TDs in a game against a competitive defense -- starting at Wisconsin. MSU is gonna be dangerous in Madison... desperate for a win, like a starving wild cat boxed into a corner.  It's unfathomable to think MSU going 1-4 in the Big Ten and being 4-5 at this point.  Three losses by six points?  Ugh.  It's time to win a game, dammit.

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