Michigan State Football: What worked and what didn’t against Central Michigan

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Sep 19, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans tight end Josiah Price (82) celebrates touchdown against the Air Force Falcons during the 1st quarter of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State football survived its first test as the No. 2 ranked team in the country. Unfortunately, it did so at a price as the Spartans suffered several injuries at key positions.

State was able to finish the game and pull away which was a good sign given its inability to do so in all three previous games. There was nothing easy about this game, though. We will take a look at what went right and what needs to get corrected as MSU opens Big Ten play next weekend.


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

Connor Cook played all but one snap at quarterback once again. MSU fans — and coaches, presumably — wanted to see other quarterbacks get some run in this game. It would have meant that MSU was far ahead enough that they could play their second and/or third-string guys, but State never got far enough ahead to be able to insert Tyler O’Conner or Damion Terry — save for the one wildcat play that Terry ran.

What went well: No ‘WTF’ throws

Connor Cook is known for always making that one boneheaded mistake — the screen to the d-lineman — like he did against Central a couple of years ago — or throwing into double or triple coverage. But Cook did not make any ghastly errors. And in this game it mattered as Central stayed in striking distance almost the entire game. All they need was a gift from Cook to turn the momentum and he provided no such gifts.

What didn’t: Finding Burbridge

In the first three games, Cook was able to get Burbridge involved to the tune of over 100 yards per game each game. I’m sure Burbridge will be getting much more attention from defenses after his breakout performances, but he’s the kind of player that you can get the ball to regardless.

When Burbridge was open, Cook either missed it or airmailed the throw. Burbridge still led the team in receptions with four, but the longest catch went for 10 yards. With the offense sputtering in the third quarter, it would have been nice to get things unlocked with some force feeding of Burbridge.

Next: Running Backs