Michigan State controlled its own destiny heading into Saturday’s game, but quickly lost control, as Ohio State jumped out to a huge lead on the Spartans and never looked back. The Spartans played one of their worst games of the season, so take a look at a few of my takeaways from the game.
Spartans still have a long way to go
Michigan State has clearly put the 3-9 season from last year in the rear view mirror. They are past that and look to be on the upswing again. However, they still have a ways to go. The Buckeyes showed no mercy, dominating the Spartans from start to finish. MSU had no chance of winning this game after the first quarter, but this young team never looked like it completely quit or gave up. They were just physically over powered, and that can happen against teams with the caliber of players OSU has. The Spartans are a young team with a lot to look forward to, but the Buckeyes’ domination of MSU showed them just how far they have to go.
The future is bright
The Spartans are the third youngest team in college football, and it showed on Saturday. However, the future of Spartan football is very bright. Lewerke had arguably his worst game and the young guys on defense just couldn’t keep up with OSU’s fire power. As I stated in the first point, MSU has a long way to go, but when you’re starting more than 15 underclassmen, these games are bound to happen. Furthermore, this team was one win in Columbus away from heading to Indianapolis. Think about that for a second. The Spartans were blown out, but this team is better than they showed and will be better because of it. It’s tough to say this after the loss, but this might be a good thing for MSU. The Spartans will now continue to play with a chip on their shoulder, and that’s a scary thing. Dantonio will have this team back and ready to compete for a title next season.
It’s hard to look at any positives from a game that ends with a 48-3 score, but if you can take one positive away from this game it has to be from the kickers. First, Matt Coghlin is a young kicker and will have his bumps, but he looks like a solid kicker going forward. If he can get stronger and knock down some deeper field goals, he could make MSU even more dangerous next season. Second, Hartbarger is a really good punter. He got a ton of work on Saturday and he did nothing but pin the Buckeyes back as far as he could. Furthermore, the coverage on the kicks was good. OSU rarely got any return yards after punts and that is a testament to how good Hartbarger has actually been. He is hitting high, long punts that give the coverage team enough time to get down and tackle the return man. I know it’s not a huge deal, but kicking for MSU has been a bright spot this season.