Central Michigan vs Michigan State: Final grades for the Spartans

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Sep 26, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) drops back to pass the ball during the 1st quarter of a game against Central Michigan at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback: C+

Once again, Connor Cook protected the ball, but as an elite quarterback, he will be expected to do much more than just be a guy who doesn’t throw interceptions or lose fumbles. Cook finished the day 11-for-19 with 143 yards and a touchdown.

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While he didn’t do anything to jeopardize the Spartans’ eventual victory, Cook could have done a much better job finding open receivers as, on multiple occasions, he overthrew his intended target, leading to a fourth down.

On a day in which the run game struggled, it was odd to see the Spartans stick with it and abandon the pass as Cook only attempted 19 pass plays. They seemed to work when he got enough time in the pocket, even hurling a 42-yard completion to Macgarrett Kings Jr. on the first offensive play of the game for the Spartans — which could have been a TD if Kings had just kept running his route.

Cook did hit seven different receivers, an improvement from just four a week ago, but none had more than 46 yards receiving on the day.

The passing attack must improve heading into Big Ten play, but a lot has to do with Cook trusting his offensive line — even if two starters are hurt right now.

Next: Running backs