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

Tight Ends

In this era of spread attacks, only the fulback is less utilized than the tight end. But MSU has always stayed true to its tight end play with several of its former players in the NFL and likely more on the way. And at MSU, tight ends have to be able to both block and catch.

What went well: Spreading the love

Connor Cook’s connection to No. 1 tight end Josiah Price has been well-documented. Price is adept at getting open and Cook tends to look his way on third down plays and in the red zone. Saturday was no different as Price caught yet another touchdown to set the record for TD catches by a tight end (14), and that’s with at least two-thirds of his junior season left and likely his entire senior season.

In this game, however, Cook was able to find Jamal Lyles for a key first down play and blocking specialist, Paul Lang, as well. When all three tight ends can be pass catching threats then defenses can’t key on the play call depending on who is in the game.

What didn’t: Josiah Price going down

Injuries, injuries, injuries.

After a great deal of injury luck the last couple of seasons, MSU has been hit hard with injuries this season. Price seemed to have turned his ankle in the late stages of the game as he was blocking on a Gerald Holmes TD run.

Ankle sprains can be tricky — players can be back to 100 percent after a week or they can be kept out of games for several weeks. And maybe worse, players can come back too early and re-injure the ankle or have it linger the entire season.

As MSU faces its first Big Ten test this weekend, it would be wise to let the injury fully heal before throwing Price back in there. Lyles and Lang have shown that they can block and catch and Price probably won’t be needed to beat Purdue — at least we hope not.

Next: Offensive Line