Central Michigan vs Michigan State: Rapid reaction to victory


It was a win, at the end of the day that is all that matters, as the Michigan State Spartans leave Spartan Stadium Saturday with a 30-10 victory.

So much more went into this game as the Spartans did not play their best. Answers and improvement absolutely need to be found in the secondary, offensive line and consistency from the offense.

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Connor Cook and the offense started fast and finished strong, but the middle quarters left much to be desired. Cook finished the day with 143 yards and one touchdown, not a terrible day, by any means, but there was a lot left on the table for Cook and the passing game.

MSU receivers did not get the separation that would have been expected, Aaron Burbridge and company had a quiet day for their standards. An area that has to be improved on is the passing game, through four games they have flashes of brilliance and then nonexistent for several drives. Josiah Price left the game late when it appeared his ankle was rolled on, hopefully it is a minor sprain as Price is a huge piece of the passing offense.

The rushing game seemed to get back on track. Not one back stood out, although the spark that Gerald Holmes and his two touchdowns that happened late should not be overlooked. Michigan State was back over the century mark and as the game went on the offensive line began to force their will, opening larger and larger holes to essentially end the game.

A bigger picture for the offense is yet another injury. Jack Conklin went down with a leg injury and did not return. On a scale of 1-10, this is a 50 if it is a serious injury and Conklin is lost. Conklin is arguably the player that the Spartans can least afford to lose next to Connor Cook, due to the position he plays at left tackle, protecting Cook’s blindside, and the high talent that he has doing that.

On the defense it was another performance that still left a lot of question marks overall. The defensive line, per usual, looked phenomenal. Shilique Calhoun stepped up when the game was still close making big play after big play. His final total was 2.5 sacks, but he absolutely pulled the Spartans out of the haze they appeared to be in during the third quarter, with big play after big play.

Related: Central Michigan vs Michigan State: First half highlights, official thread

The secondary is still in dire need for playmakers. It seemed at times that Cooper Rush was playing in a 7-on-7 passing drill with how open his targets were. Arjen Colquhoun did play very physical in his first start replacing Vayante Copeland, but strides have to be made for the Spartans to win a Big Ten Championship.

Cooper Rush finished 26-of-39 for 285 yards and the passing game was able to convert several third-and-longs. The statistics that Rush put up and the inability to get off the field in third and long has to improve as the games will only get tougher as Big Ten play begins.

At the end of the day, it was a 20-point win with the offense scored 30 points for the 12th straight game. However, when you are the No. 2 team in the country and have aspirations of making the College Football Playoff, critiquing and development must happen.

Spartan Nation, take a deep breath and send good vibes toward Jack Conklin and his leg.

Next: Big Ten Football Game by Game Predictions: Week 4

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