Air Force vs Michigan State: What worked and what didn’t for the Spartans

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Sep 19, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Madre London (28) stiff arms Michigan State Spartans safety Chris Laneaux (14) during the 1st quarter of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Running backs

After stellar games in the first two weeks of the season, the running backs had a much more pedestrian performance in week three. Madre London and L.J. Scott once again led the way in both rush attempts and yards.

Related: Air Force vs Michigan State: Grading the Spartans’ performance

Both backs rushed for under 2.5 yards per attempt. The running backs continue to impress with their leg drive and yards after contact.

What went well: Picking up the blitz

One of the biggest questions coming into the season was which of the backs would pick up pass protection well enough to get into the games to let his legs do their thing. The backs were excellent in picking up the extra blitzer, allowing Cook the time to get first downs and touchdowns. Madre London was particularly good at recognizing the blitz and standing up the Air Force defender as he charged at full speed.

What didn’t: Making something out of nothing

There were a lot of Air Force defenders wherever the backs went, but neither back was able to produce any magic to break a few tackles and bust a long one. The truly great backs are able to find a way to find a crease where one doesn’t seem to exist.

So far the Spartan running backs have been very good, none of them have been great. It would have taken a great back to make a big impact on the ground during this game.

Next: Wide receivers