Air Force vs Michigan State: Grading the Spartans’ performance

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Sep 19, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans mascot helps Michigan State Spartans celebrate win over Air Force Falcons after a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday afternoon’s Air Force vs Michigan State game was much closer than many people had thought it would, and should, be. The Spartans won 35-21 and moved to No. 2 in the AP poll released on Sunday afternoon while jumping to No. 3 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

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Despite a win that no one was content with in East Lansing, the Spartans seemed to gain national respect and the recognition is finally coming the Spartans’ way.

The defense looked extremely shaky against the strong Air Force run game, but even less impressive against the pass, allowing Falcons receivers to get wide open down the field for big gains. It was painful to watch a team that averages just nine passes per game and had thrown for just 143 yards through two games complete 6-of-9 passes for 149 yards under backup QB Karson Roberts.

Michigan State will need to step up on both sides of the ball, as the offensive line and run game also looked sloppy, if it’s going to live up to its No. 2 ranking.

Related: Air Force vs Michigan State: Spartans have a lot of work to do

The Spartans haven’t been ranked this high in quite some time, and the pressure usually gets to the teams who have top-five rankings when they aren’t used to being there at this point in the season.

Plenty of things went the Spartans’ way in this one, but there were also a few mistake which had this team fighting to hold a decent lead in the fourth quarter.

Let’s grade the Spartans’ performance in this one to see what went wrong and what can be fixed moving forward.

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