It has been trendy to talk about Michigan State football’s defensive struggles, but what about the offense?
Scottie Hazelton’s defense has been very underwhelming so far, to say the least. They deserve the criticism coming their way but what about Jay Johnson’s offense? I hardly see anybody calling him out for the offensive struggles happening.
Mel Tucker in his press conference after the loss to Minnesota talked about how Michigan State is not good enough on either side of the ball to not play complementary football.
Sure, the defense has been worse than the offense but Payton Thorne and Co. have not given the defense very many favors.
Michigan State football offense starting off way too slowly
A common theme for Michigan State football this season has been the consistently slow starts to games. Opening drives have been very weak so far, two of the four opening possessions have ended up as a three-and-outs. One possession was five plays and ended up in a punt and one ended up as a 59-yard touchdown drive against Akron. So as we can see, three out of the four games have gotten off to very poor starts.
In Michigan State’s last two games this is how the first quarter as a whole has been horrific. Against Washington, the Spartans ran six plays in the first quarter. Those six plays netted 11 total yards and also led to a Washington safety. The Spartans had exactly three minutes of possession.
In the Minnesota game, Michigan State ran six plays in the first quarter that gained a total of one yard and led to only 3:20 of ball possession.
These numbers are pathetic. The offense having just north of six total minutes of possession time in two combined games is ridiculous. This is part of the reason the defense is struggling. When they’re getting worn down for a drive just to go to the sideline for the offense to run three plays and punt. This ends up taking a toll. Now I’m not excusing the defense’s poor play, but it would be naive to say that the offense doesn’t at least contribute to their poor performance.
Also, the ineffective run game has played a huge factor. In the last two games, Michigan State has had 43 carries for only 80 yards. That is 1.86 yards per carry which is just not going to cut it at any level of football.
There have also been four turnovers in the past two games, and as I mentioned above there was also a safety, so the offense has given the ball away five times in the past two games.
The offense needs to step it up. It seems once things begin to go downhill Payton Thorne begins to get frustrated and ends up making silly, avoidable mistakes. The offense needs to begin to make sure they start off strong. Instead of being the team getting punched In the mouth first, maybe they need to be the bully and throw the first haymaker.
Things don’t get any easier as the Spartans head down to Maryland to take on the Terrapins who just played a solid game against Michigan last week. The offense needs to figure out the struggles as things are beginning to go downhill very fast for Tucker.