Michigan State Football: 5 takeaways from win over Central Michigan in Week 5

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29: Brian Lewerke #14 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates a first half touchdwon while playing the Central Michigan Chippewas at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29: Brian Lewerke #14 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates a first half touchdwon while playing the Central Michigan Chippewas at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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EAST LANSING, MI – SEPTEMBER 29: Raequan Williams #99 of the Michigan State Spartans rushes the quarterback while playing the Central Michigan Chippewas at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 31-20. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI – SEPTEMBER 29: Raequan Williams #99 of the Michigan State Spartans rushes the quarterback while playing the Central Michigan Chippewas at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 31-20. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

2. The defense is getting better as a whole

Through three quarters, the defense had played its best game of the season. Central Michigan was finishing with three-and-outs on a regular basis while the run defense continued to smash another opponent, holding the Chips to 63 yards on 22 carries — most of those rushing yards came from scrambles by quarterback Tommy Lazzaro.

The pass rush was getting in the quarterback’s face regularly and the secondary was finally stepping up on the short passing routes, hitting receivers as soon as they touched the ball. Heck, sometimes they even made plays on the ball to force incompletions.

It was a complete defensive effort and Joe Bachie’s goal of a shutout was just missed as they allowed just three points through three quarters, but he could live with that.

Things changed in the fourth as Michigan State surrendered 17 points and the defense looked to lose a step, but not because of fatigue. This unit let Central march down the field for a score with some suspect defense through the air and after recovering an onside kick, the Chips fooled the defense again on a trick play which resulted in a second fourth-quarter touchdown.

Central added a field goal, but it was clear the fourth-quarter defense was letting up and it wasn’t nearly the same group through the first three frames.

That defense through three quarters was the best we’ve seen all year and it’s something to build off of moving into Big Ten play. If the Spartans can maintain that defense that it had early, it’ll have no issues in conference play.