Air Force vs Michigan State: 5 players who need to step up

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Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans place kicker Michael Geiger (4) kicks a field goal out of the hold of wide receiver Matt Macksood (86) during the 2nd half of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

1. Special Teams

Michigan State finds itself in deep water when it comes to special teams. I couldn’t narrow down to a single player for this one, so I decided to pick the entire unit. Kickoff coverage, punt coverage and field goal — they all are in a slump.

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Let’s start with the kickoff team. Kevin Cronin has quite the leg, but not strong enough to record a touchback every time. He’s not the issue, it’s the poor tackling and inability to break off a block in kickoff coverage. Running down the field, these guys are seemingly forgetting to locate the ball before bolting downtime field.

Next, we have the punt unit. Again, Jake Hartbarger is one of the top punters in the Big Ten, but that’s not the reason there is a problem with this group. Just like the kickoff coverage team, there is poor tackling here and would-be tacklers seem to slip off the ball carrier with ease or not even reach him at all. Both the kickoff and punt teams have given up return touchdowns so far in 2015.

Lastly, Michael Geiger was playing solid this season before a 28-yard field goal miss a week ago against Oregon that could have ended up hurting the Spartans in the end, but luckily it didn’t.

This whole group of players needs to step up this week.

Next: Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 3