Air Force vs Michigan State: Grading the Spartans’ performance

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Sep 19, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) is tackled by Air Force Falcons defensive back Weston Steelhammer (8) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback: A

Connor Cook came into the game as a middle-of-the-pack Heisman contender and exited as a potential frontrunner. The Spartans’ senior quarterback looked the part of the best quarterback in the Big Ten and finished with 247 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-23 completions.

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This was his best performance on the young season, hitting his receivers in stride and overthrowing one or two guys all game long. We finally got to see the Connor Cook of old as his 2015 debut seemed to be on Saturday against the Falcons.

One play in the game stood out for the quarterback as he couldn’t find an open receiver down field, so he tucked the ball and ran with it, picking up nine yards and a first down. That’s something the coaches have wanted him to do for years now and he showed flashes of a dual-threat ability on that play.

What was even more impressive about his day was that he developed a great connection with senior Aaron Burbridge even while having to escape the pocket play after play because of a poor performance from the Spartans’ grunts up front.

Let’s see if this solid play from the senior gunslinger turns into a trend this week against Central Michigan.

Next: Running backs