Michigan State Football: What worked and didn’t work against Western

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Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Gerald Holmes (24) runs the ball against the Western Michigan Broncos during the 1st half of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs

As was expected, three running backs shared the load with Madre London, Gerald Holmes, and LJ Scott all getting significant carries against Western netting 190 yards rushing. Delton Williams dressed but did not play.

Must Read: Michigan State vs. WMU: Grading the Spartans

There is talk that he might end up redshirting this year. Injuries and production will likely play a role in who gets playing time. I still expect two running backs to take the bulk of carries over the course of the season with one complementary guy.

What went well: Yards after contact

All three primary ball carriers consitently ran with toughness leading to lots of yards after contact. Opposing defenses will need to bring lots of hats to the ball if they plan to take down MSU running backs this year. This kind of intense scrutiny could lead to nice play-action passes in the future.

What didn’t: Receiving

Gerald Holmes was the only running back with a reception and that went for zero yards. There could be several reasons for this lack of production including that they weren’t targeted very much.

However, with three inexperienced backs one has to wonder if it’s a chicken and egg scenario where they aren’t targeted very much because they aren’t very good at running routes. It could be that Michigan State was holding this part of their game back for the Oregon game.

Whatever the reason, given Cook’s stated commitment to hit the checkdown receiver, let’s hope this number goes up a bit.

Next: Receivers