Michigan State football’s season-opening win over Central Michigan was quite the tale of two halves. After screaming at my TV about a lost season for roughly 28 game minutes, the Spartans settled in nicely and shook off the rust or first-game nerves or whatever was causing them to look like the middle school football team I coach.
Mental errors, missed assignments, and penalties killed them in the first half to let the Chippewas hang around and almost take a lead into halftime. But like all good coaches, Mel Tucker and Co. made adjustments on both sides of the ball to really take command of the game in the third and fourth quarters.
The Spartans are 1-0 and that’s all that really matters, but let’s see how they fared against the goals I set for them before the game.
1. 4.5 yards per rush and over 150 yards rushing
Before the last offensive drive (which resulted in -10 rush yards), the Spartans had 137 rushing yards on 29 attempts, good for 4.7 yards per rush. An early 31-yard rush from Nathan Carter helped tremendously, but even without that run, he averaged almost 5.0 yards a carry.
Jalen Berger added a few nice runs and a touchdown and overall, the offensive line got a good push, especially on early downs.
I don’t blame the offense for their inability to convert on fourth-and-short. I don’t know why Jay Johnson refuses to run a quarterback sneak or bring in a fullback for short yardages. Something to look for as the season progresses.
Overall, the line looked good, and the depth showed as the Spartans ran for over 80 yards in the second half (excluding the final drive).