Last week Spartan Avenue exclaimed that it was imperative for the Michigan State football program to have an explosive offensive showing against Indiana. Although the Spartans were only explosive in the second half of the game, it was the perfect thing to get MSU ready for its slate of conference games, starting this Saturday against Iowa.
The Big Ten Network believes that the offense has turned a corner and that there were several bright spots in Michigan State’s 31-27 win against the Hoosiers.
BTN.com and writer Tom Dienhart said the following regarding the Spartans offense:
Has the offense turned a corner? Yes, it was only the Indiana defense, but the Spartans roared back from a 17-point hole behind a spirited effort by the offense. Michigan State passed for 290 yards and Le’Veon Bell ticked off another 100-yard rushing game (121). Best of all: The Spartans may have found a go-to receiver in true freshman Aaron Burbridge, who paced the team with eight catches for 134 yards (16.8 per catch) in the 31-27 win at Indiana. He will need another big effort with Iowa coming to East Lansing.
There were three big takeaways from the Indiana game that correlate with Dienhart’s statement.
First, the second half of the Indiana game showed that the offense is capable of finding a rhythm on the field that works. The Spartans had never put an entire half together where every aspect of the offense was clicking. MSU was able to line up and physically attack the Hoosiers both through the air and on the ground with Bell. Having a rhythm on offensive enables the Spartans to create an identity, and that identity is that Bell will bang you up through the middle and Maxwell will catch you sleeping downfield, near the sidelines.
Second, the Indiana game was only Maxwell’s sixth start as a Spartan. It’s unfair to expect him to play like Joe Montana so early in his career. Should he repeat his past performances near the end of the season then it would be fair to criticize his play. For now, Maxwell is growing into his roll and managing the game as best as possible.
Last, the wide receivers are finally figuring out how to get the ball in this offense. Bennie Fowler regressed the past couple of weeks, but against Indiana he was leaping away from the mean and has set himself up for another breakout performance against Iowa this Saturday. It will also be interesting to see if Burbridge can pick up where he left off from because 134-yard games do not happen on accident.