Another week, another wasted opportunity to steal a win. I love that there are flashes of potential with this Michigan State football team but I hate that they are just flashes. This team is quickly digging up the famed “Same Old Spartans” moniker. This is what it was like before Mark Dantonio and almost every Detroit Lions team before Dan Campbell. They snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They find new ways to lose every week.
Fans have hope but secretly are waiting for the other shoe to drop. It took Dantonio years to shed that narrative and were still disrespected by the media even after winning conference championships. Now? The culture that Mel Tucker and the staff have engrained in this program is lazy, mistake-filled, and one that not a single person can respect.
This wasn’t an “Oh, they played so hard but they just weren’t the better team” game. In the last two weeks, the Spartans have looked like the better team and beat themselves with mistakes that are avoidable for any other team except East Lansing’s own.
Let’s go through last week’s goals and I’ll provide all the evidence you need.
1. Take the points in Iowa territory
A+ for the Spartans on this one. There was only one time where the Spartans went for it on fourth down in Iowa territory and it resulted in an offside penalty. The drive resulted in a 32-yard field goal to take the lead 6-3.
We also know now that Jonathan Kim has a leg after kicking a 58-yard field goal, a record at Kinnick Stadium. The long kick cut the deficit to one, 10-9, as they headed into halftime feeling good, right? Unfortunately, the only other time Michigan State was even close enough to kick a field goal, it was a 50-yard miss off the upright that should have been a 45-yard make (at worst) if our team was disciplined enough with tight end Jaylan Franklin committing a false start on third-and-4, and then another incomplete pass on third-and-9.
It’s hard to imagine that just one (1) 5-yard penalty could have so much impact later in the game, but it proved costly.
I guess the Spartans assumed they would have more opportunities to run plays in Iowa territory in the fourth quarter but we now know that such a simple request was too much to ask of this team.
In the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, the Spartan’s offense ran 18 plays totaling 36 yards. The closest they came to the end zone was the MSU 43-yard line. It was offensive coaching and player ineptitude that I’m not sure we’ve seen from Michigan State football, and that includes the 7-6 Redbox Bowl loss in 2016.